The G+J Interview with Jordy Smith

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Jordy Smith won the Hurley Pro in September and what's rad about Jordy's win, his first of the 2014 ASP/WCT season, is that no one expected him to win. Too many eyes were on the other guys. Too many expected John John to win. Or Kelly to win. Even Gabriel Medina. But no one thought it would be Jordy. Maybe it's because he cruised through his heats with just enough flair to continue on to the next round. He wasn't making the highlight reels day after day like Filipe Toledo or JJF, but he won, proving in a marathon like a surfing event, it's not how gnarly your airs are but how long you surf well enough to survive each round.

Interview by Skip Snead

Ghetto Juice: Jordy, let's talk about your childhood dreams. Did you ever dream you'd get to this level in pro surfing? What were your dreams as a grom from South Africa?
Jordy Smith: Dreams? Yeah, well, my dream was to really just win J-Bay (which he has), just to even compete at J-Bay … and my dreams became a bit more of a reality when I qualified and I came here to Trestles when I was 17 and I got to the third or fourth round, competing against my idols. I ended up beating Andy (Irons) and Joel (Parkinson), and so that sort of set everything off for me, and from that point, I really wanted to win an event there.

G+J: You've been competing at Lowers for years but never made finals. What was different this year?
J+S: Yeah, I've had some really good performances in the past, but nothing too big. I always felt like I peaked too early. I felt like I got 9's and stuff and didn't have anything left in the tank, and by the time I got to the quarters or semis I didn't really know what to do anymore to take it another step further. I was getting through heats with 7's and mid-range scores and then sure enough I got lucky in the final, sort of let it loose. I got a couple of good ones and was stuck in zone mode. I kept thinking, 9.33, 9.33 … what do I need? 9.33. Luckily that last little wave came through, did a couple turns and finished it. Got my 7.

G+J: You're sitting 7th right now after Portugal, but for the majority of the year you've been outside the top 10. Before the French leg you said in an interview you feel like a Top 5 surfer and you've always felt like you were at that level with Kelly, Mick, Taj and Parko….
J+S: Yeah, I guess you can say that everybody that's in the position they are deserves to be there. And, ya know, I haven't had a great year. This is just something that, ya know, is kind of a Hail Mary right now. I didn't really expect to win the contest, I just wanted to get a couple of good results and make the top 10 and be in a good position to go for a world title next year. That's sort of my goal right now. Doing some preparation, figuring out what works for me and, yeah, I think it's all about just catching some good waves. Go out there, stand up on your board and try to catch the best waves and hopefully get a couple of good scores.

G+J: Do you still feel like a grommet on tour? Of course you've got guys like Gabriel and John John and Kolohe coming up under you, but compared to Kelly, Mick, Taj and Parko, you're still considered a young gun….
J+S: Yeah, I'm only a couple years older than those guys coming up, those kids, but dude, look, Kelly's fricken' 40-something years old and he's surfing better now than he ever has.

G+J: Do you think you'll still be doing this at 40?
J+S: I probably can't. To be honest, I can't see myself (competing at this level at 40) because I don't know what life will throw at me in five years, in 10 years. I'm not sure.

G+J: Can you imagine it though?
J+S: Definitely, yeah. I think outside of Kelly, Taj is the oldest surfer on tour and as you saw he's absolutely shredding the hell out of it. He looks younger than some of the younger guys on tour.

G+J: Yeah, he qualified for the ASP in 1998 or something crazy like that. What were you doing in 1998?
J+S: In 1998 I was 10 years old. So yeah, I was probably just playing with Legos, and juggling a soccer ball.

G+J: Back then did you ever think you'd actually get the chance to surf against Kelly Slater and be at the same level, or did you think he might be off the tour by the time you got on?
J+S: I didn't really think of it at all. I was just more like, whoa, this is Kelly Slater. Whoa, that's Joel Parkinson. I was just a grom running up and down the beach at J-Bay pretty much. Yeah, it was my one time a year I got to go to Jeffrey's and watch the professional guys surf. For me it was more recreational. At 12, 13 years old you're not thinking "professional surfer" too hard. You're just kind of thinking, OK, this is what I have fun doing, hanging out with my mates at the beach. But once I got to 16, 17 it was like—all a sudden these doors started opening and I thought, this is it. This is what I have to do. It was my destiny. Why not do something you love?

Image courtesy ASP


Posted by: Ghetto JuiceGhetto Juice at: 13 Nov 2014 18:20




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Jordy Smith won the Hurley Pro in September and what's rad about Jordy's win, his first of the 2014 ASP/WCT season, is that no one expected him to win. Too many eyes were on the other guys. Too many expected John John to win. Or Kelly to win. Even Gabriel Medina. But no one thought it would be Jordy. Maybe it's because he cruised through his heats with just enough flair to continue on to the next round. He wasn't making the highlight reels day after day like Filipe Toledo or JJF, but he won, proving in a marathon like a surfing event, it's not how gnarly your airs are but how long you surf well enough to survive each round.

Interview by Skip Snead

Ghetto Juice: Jordy, let's talk about your childhood dreams. Did you ever dream you'd get to this level in pro surfing? What were your dreams as a grom from South Africa?
Jordy Smith: Dreams? Yeah, well, my dream was to really just win J-Bay (which he has), just to even compete at J-Bay … and my dreams became a bit more of a reality when I qualified and I came here to Trestles when I was 17 and I got to the third or fourth round, competing against my idols. I ended up beating Andy (Irons) and Joel (Parkinson), and so that sort of set everything off for me, and from that point, I really wanted to win an event there.

G+J: You've been competing at Lowers for years but never made finals. What was different this year?
J+S: Yeah, I've had some really good performances in the past, but nothing too big. I always felt like I peaked too early. I felt like I got 9's and stuff and didn't have anything left in the tank, and by the time I got to the quarters or semis I didn't really know what to do anymore to take it another step further. I was getting through heats with 7's and mid-range scores and then sure enough I got lucky in the final, sort of let it loose. I got a couple of good ones and was stuck in zone mode. I kept thinking, 9.33, 9.33 … what do I need? 9.33. Luckily that last little wave came through, did a couple turns and finished it. Got my 7.

G+J: You're sitting 7th right now after Portugal, but for the majority of the year you've been outside the top 10. Before the French leg you said in an interview you feel like a Top 5 surfer and you've always felt like you were at that level with Kelly, Mick, Taj and Parko….
J+S: Yeah, I guess you can say that everybody that's in the position they are deserves to be there. And, ya know, I haven't had a great year. This is just something that, ya know, is kind of a Hail Mary right now. I didn't really expect to win the contest, I just wanted to get a couple of good results and make the top 10 and be in a good position to go for a world title next year. That's sort of my goal right now. Doing some preparation, figuring out what works for me and, yeah, I think it's all about just catching some good waves. Go out there, stand up on your board and try to catch the best waves and hopefully get a couple of good scores.

G+J: Do you still feel like a grommet on tour? Of course you've got guys like Gabriel and John John and Kolohe coming up under you, but compared to Kelly, Mick, Taj and Parko, you're still considered a young gun….
J+S: Yeah, I'm only a couple years older than those guys coming up, those kids, but dude, look, Kelly's fricken' 40-something years old and he's surfing better now than he ever has.

G+J: Do you think you'll still be doing this at 40?
J+S: I probably can't. To be honest, I can't see myself (competing at this level at 40) because I don't know what life will throw at me in five years, in 10 years. I'm not sure.

G+J: Can you imagine it though?
J+S: Definitely, yeah. I think outside of Kelly, Taj is the oldest surfer on tour and as you saw he's absolutely shredding the hell out of it. He looks younger than some of the younger guys on tour.

G+J: Yeah, he qualified for the ASP in 1998 or something crazy like that. What were you doing in 1998?
J+S: In 1998 I was 10 years old. So yeah, I was probably just playing with Legos, and juggling a soccer ball.

G+J: Back then did you ever think you'd actually get the chance to surf against Kelly Slater and be at the same level, or did you think he might be off the tour by the time you got on?
J+S: I didn't really think of it at all. I was just more like, whoa, this is Kelly Slater. Whoa, that's Joel Parkinson. I was just a grom running up and down the beach at J-Bay pretty much. Yeah, it was my one time a year I got to go to Jeffrey's and watch the professional guys surf. For me it was more recreational. At 12, 13 years old you're not thinking "professional surfer" too hard. You're just kind of thinking, OK, this is what I have fun doing, hanging out with my mates at the beach. But once I got to 16, 17 it was like—all a sudden these doors started opening and I thought, this is it. This is what I have to do. It was my destiny. Why not do something you love?

Image courtesy ASP

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