Serving at this year’s JBay Open was certainly different to any other year. No-one could have prepared us for what was to happen in the finals, but the Lord knew, and He laid it on our hearts to pray every morning for the safety and projection of the surfers and water patrol. 6am every morning, while it’s still dark, our team would meet on the boardwalk and encourage one another, give thanks for their serving hearts and giving up of their time and to pray, not only for the surfers but for everyone involved with the JBay Open, from the WSL officials to the ground crew, and that the Lord will grant us opportunities to speak of Jesus.
Some of our team came all the way from Cape Town to serve at this event. After prayer in the mornings we got our designated areas sorted and ready for the day. Made sure they were clean, coffee was fresh, snacks were there for the taking, breakfast for those that couldn’t make it to the breakfast area. We’d meet around the breakfast table and fellowship, either with each other or members of WSL, other crew and even the surfers.
As it was a long waiting period, on “Go” days, we were constantly busy, serving lunch to officials, carrying and fetching, tidying, serving VIP’s, etc. On “lay days”, we basically did the same in the mornings, as some officials still stayed and worked, but we could then leave for the day.
Getting back to the day of the finals, all I can say it was a shocker. Many of us saw the shark encounter with Mick Fanning as it happened, expecting to see blood, it was the most horrific surreal experience. Reports from the grandstand was that people were praying out loud. After everything had settled, Mick and Julian were ok, the commissioners called off the rest of the contest, our team gathered together again and gave God thanks for His mercy and protection over Mick and even the water photographers and water patrol guys, and we prayed for Mick’s well being in his mind as we knew this encounter would wreak havoc in his thoughts.
So yes, this year’s Jbay Open was very different indeed. And at next year’s event we will continue to pray for safety and protection for everyone in the water.