Stab loves it when Jordy Smith picks up his phone. Oh, those dulcet South-African tones! The world number eight just surfed his first round at the Billabong Pro, J-Bay. It’s an event he won twice consecutively in the last two years with power, aggression and passion. Which is just, like, infectious and great. And then, Billabong announced that it was being downgraded from a WT event to a six-star, which ain’t so great. Curiosity about his recent trip to Reunion Island with Julian Wilson and what it means to compete in South Africa led to a totally brief phone call from Stab. Here it is!
Stab: Firstly, do tell me about Reunion…
Jordy Smith: It was really cool. Jules was surfing so well. I’ve been there a few times, but that was my first time back since the Modern Collective trip. I’d definitely say the wind factor makes that righthander perfect for airs. It also kinda bends-in off the takeoff, kinda like Keramas. It allows you to get a bit of speed, then you just get this big ramp. It’s a little bit sketchy on the landing though, ’cause the rocks are super shallow and there’s a lot of sea urchins. You don’t wanna put your feet down or anything like that.
After Reunion, you did the Mr Price Pro. Do you feel like it’s better to focus on Dream Tour events, or try and stay in a competitive mindframe by doing QS events? Well, the Mr Price Pro is at home for me, so being in front of the home crowd is pretty cool and it’s cool to see my friends. I don’t spend too much time at home, so it was good going out and hanging out. But I think it all depends where you’re sitting on the ratings. If you’re sitting pretty on the tour ratings it doesn’t hurt to take some time off.
How’s your place in Cape Town? I’ve been there about 10 months now. I really like the city, the waves are fun in the summertime, and when I come home that’s where I want to spend most of my time. Plus, my girlfriend’s family is from there. It’s perfect.
What’s the best thing about doing Ballito and J-Bay? Well, the history of the events, they both go pretty far back. And also the quality of waves that you get at those events… like, it’s second-to-none, almost. Every year you can guarantee you’re gonna get good waves at J-Bay, and for the last few years there’s been incredible waves at the Mr Price. So, more than likely you’re bound to get good waves, which is a huge drawcard.
Is the J-Bay thing really hard to swallow? You’ve kinda made it your own event in the last two years and to lose it from tour mustn’t be great. It sucks, and I’m pretty bummed out that it’s not a CT anymore, but I mean, at the same time, I still get to surf J-Bay with only three or four guys out. I also think it’ll be a good opportunity for the wildcards and all the local boys. ‘Cause, a lot of them never really got to surf an event out there. So many of the local guys surf J-Bay so well. Obviously Sean Holmes, Travis Logie… there’s a ton of guys from Durban that surf really well, a lot of the natural footers have a lot of power. Brandon Jackson, some of the younger guys like Dale Staples, Chad Du Toit, Mikey February, Brendon Gibbens. It’ll be good to see those guys out there in a contest.
What’re you trending on with your surfing at the moment? Actually, just cutties. Really good cutbacks. That’s psyching me up. Really on-the-rail, really fast, making sure you hit the lip right at the top.
Hmm, just in time for J-Bay. And, what else is happening with Jordy Smith til Chopes? Well I’ve got J-Bay, then I’m gonna stay here and Tom Curren’s gonna come and surf with me and hang out, so that’ll be really cool. Then after that, it’s the US Open. – Elliot Struck