One of the main attractions at the World Surf League’s Championship Tour event in Jeffrey’s Bay, the Corona J-Bay Open, is top South African professional surfer Jordy Smith.
Originally from Durban, Jordy has been on the Championship for 12 years already. His rookie year was 2008. It’s hard to believe that he has been charging on the Championship Tour since then, making this his 12th year on tour. He had a few disturbed years in the process, due to serious injury, and his QS tour was short-lived. He was too good for that.
He has had two runner-up finishes on the world title race, in 2010 and in 2016. On only his second year on tour he went for his first world title run. He pushed hard, and his performance included a win at JBay. He wanted that world title so badly. At the end of the year Kelly Slater staved him off as only he could, but Jordy’s intentions were now loud and clear. His second real world title run in 2016 was held back by a few close calls and a couple of unlucky decisions.
He has had six Championship Tour event wins. Jordy started off his winning ways with his first victory at JBay in 2010, followed by his second victory at the same venue in 2011. His next came at the Billabong Rio Pro, followed by two at the Hurley Pro Trestles in 2014 and 2016. His last win was at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in 2017, but there will be more to come.
In 2017, Jordy Smith was awarded 30 points for 3 rides in JBay. Two of those came in one heat, when he scored the rare 20-point heat total, and the final 10 came after he was made to re-surf a heat against Conner Coffin due to a judges’ error. He put on a spectacle that day for supporters, but he unfortunately peaked in the process, and wasn’t able to pull it together for the next day’s surfing.
When he gets it together, as in 2017, he is quite literally the best surfer in the water at JBay. No one even comes close. He has the experience, after years and years of surfing the break, to find the best waves in every set and to ride them quite unlike anyone else. While top surfers like Filipe Toledo does some of the most dynamic and imaginative air moves, Jordy has the same moves and better, but he mixes them up with massive power gouges, full rail turns, huge combinations and solid tube riding. He is the full package.
When Jordy decides he wants a world title, he will go out and get it, and he’ll probably kick it off with a win at JBay. This year Jordy is looking fit and lean, and the last 18 months of training and hard work has put him in the best place ever for that world title run. His performance at the Gold Coast (third) Bells Beach (third) and Bali (17) has put him at number 6 on the Jeep leaderboard, but within striking distance of the top spot.
Photos by WSL / Cestari and Kody McGregor.