7 December, 2016 7 December, 2016

Sunset In The Rearview – Jordy Smith Q&A

“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. 

 Going back to putting in your time on The North Shore. Twiggy mentioned just yesterday that he was disappointed to see so few South African’s commit to real quality time in Hawaii this season. What are your thoughts?

I completely agree with that from Twig’s side. But I kinda understand from the other side that trying to make it work with the South African Rand is really expensive for the guys, so I do understand that. But you know, you have to put all your eggs in one basket if you want to make it. At this time of the year there is only one place to be and that is the North Shore. It’s where all the surf photographers all, the whole surf industry is and if you’re looking to make a name for yourself; if you’re looking to really push your career this is where you need to be at this time. So ya, it’s a bit disappointing. I would definitely have liked to have seen more South Africans over here. In any sport actually. I mean Andre Botha is over here. He chased sponsorship from coffee houses and places like that outside of the surf industry to be here and do what he does so well. He’s doing a really great job. I’ve seen Mikey February around a bit too. For the amount of talent we have at home we definitely should be seeing more South Africans over here.

This year has been a great year for you and you’re more in-form than ever. Tells us about the highlights and how you are feeling right now?

There have been some definite highlights but overall it’s just been big learning curve for me. I feel like I’ve learnt so much and have understood everything I’ve done. It really was a year of maturity for me in competitive surfing. Rather focusing on competitions than getting clips. And just being able to separate the two aspects of the sports; the competitive side and then going off and getting epic waves on a trip. I think that has been pretty huge for me. Just being ok where I am. And then of course injury wise. Coming to understand my body a lot more. Understanding what I have to do every day to maintain an injury free year.

And for next year. I’m sure you’re psyched. What are your thoughts on 2017?

I’m sure there will be some new things to learn, but at present if it’s not broke, don’t try and fix it. Everything is going according to plan right now and I’m always excited for a new year. But I’m all about focusing on this year at this point. This year isn’t finished. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about next year, but we haven’t even finished this year!

Right on. So all eyes on Pipe then! You’ve been putting in as much time as you can out there. How are you feeling for the final event? And with the charts as they are who is looking dangerous?

Ya I’ve been surfing it as much as I can, but we haven’t had that much swell for it yet. I’m just excited to have the opportunity to surf it with just a handful of guys out. With the swell predicated at present I think it’s going to be a mix bag. Barrels, turns etc. Obviously when the waves get big in the 8-10 foot range the usual suspects stand out, but for anything under that everyone on tour is equally good and able to stand out. Then it’s all about catching the best wave in the heat. 

Thanks Jordy, well all the very best and good luck out there. Keep the SA flag flying!

Thanks guys. Will do. All the best


*Interview by Alan van Gysen

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