“Everyone is asking me about next year, but this year isn’t over. There is still The Triple Crown and Pipeline. I’m not finished with 2016 yet.” – Jordy Smith.
If all goes well at Pipe this coming week, Jordy Smith – South Africa’s lone ranger on the WSL tour, will finish up the 2016 year with one of the best results he has had during his nine years on tour. And after winning the Vans Sunset Pro event in Hawaii he is looking as in form as he has ever been.
We caught up with Jordy for 10-minutes last night after a great day of surf both in South Africa and The North Shore now that the dust settled after his highlight win at Sunset…
Zigzag: Good morning your side Jords. Sorry we missed each other last night, but The Outer Kom was cooking and we had to grab a few. How are things that side?
Jordy Smith: Haha. All good bru. No problem. I hope you got a few! We had pretty good waves yesterday afternoon out at Rocky’s too. After getting home from the win at Sunset, Pipe was pretty good so I grabbed my board and paddled out. It was super crowded on dusk but I still managed to get one good one before it went totally dark. It was an epic wave and rode it right to the beach, I was psyched!
You’ve been surfing a lot from what we’ve seen. We’ve received numerous submissions from the worlds best surf photographers of you tearing up the waves on the North Shore every other day. Are you feeling settled and in tune with the Pacific after all these years on the North Shore and specifically this season focus?
Ya I think just keeping active and surfing a lot is the most important thing over here. And putting in the time. Just staying sharp. But more specifically for Sunset I just took a really relaxed approach to the event – for all the contests this season actually. Just not putting too much pressure on myself. Obviously in the past winning at Sunset has been something that I’ve wanted really bad, but that just immediately put so much pressure on being able top achieve it And then this year going in with an open mind, not expecting much the chips just fell in place just when you need them to.
It must feel good just surfing for yourself at this stage, since the world title has been decided and there isn’t that pressure on you as you said…
Ya exactly. There isn’t anything at stake, well besides The Triple Crown – haha, but ya I think just having the relaxed mentality when competing. Normally it’s pretty intense, so just to paddle out at Sunset with a smile on my face, watching the whole 2016 QS scenario unfold it was really exciting. Just to be in the heat and watch it all go down was awesome.
What are your thoughts about the new qualifiers joining The Tour next year? Portuguese Frederico Morais was up there second alongside you at Sunset. Who are you excited to see surfing with you next year?
There are a bunch of good new guys joining us next year. I’m pretty excited to see Connor O’Leary. He is a big guy like myself and then Frederico, he is a very good surfer. It’s going to be good to see how dynamic these guys can get when the waves are in that two-four foot range at spots like Trestles and opening the gates at Snapper Rocks next season.
Who are you most sad to see leave the tour this year?
Taj Burrow for sure. I mean he is good enough to have hang out on tour for any five to ten years. I think he is just frothing to go surf other epic waves and spots he never had a chance to chase while on tour. But he was on the tour for something like 18 years, so he had an amazing competitive career.
It definitely seems like a changing of the guard with many of the older guys stepping away or talking about stepping away. What do you think of the talented young guns coming up?
Ya there are a bunch of younger guys coming up like Leo Fioravanti, Ezekiel Lau etc who are all very smart competitors. It’s going to be very fun to watch the compete.