Friday, July 23, 2010

The Big Saffa Finally Gets His

When Jordy Smith came onto the World Tour last year, he was being hailed as the second-coming of Kelly Slater. Sort of. That title was partly shared with Dane Reynolds. From what we learned, it would seem Dane has the innovation of Sl8r, but Jordy has the competitive drive. Maybe combined they're Kelly 2.0.

In 10 contests last year, neither Dane nor Jordy finished first; Dane finished second (Trestles) and equal-third (Jeffreys Bay), and Jordy once finished equal-third (Bells). Nonetheless, both held their share of the spotlight, though with no wins.

Well, Jordy finally broke through. And he did so in impressive fashion, in his home country, at one of his favorite spots in the world – Jeffreys Bay. Aside from a controversial last-minute come-from-behind semifinal win over Bede Durbidge, Jordy was easily the surfer of the contest. He's so composed, yet creative. His turns are crisp and his snaps powerful. And he boosts good-sized airs, despite that 6'2", 190 pound frame.

As he took the shoulder ride from the water to the podium, he broke down. His mom greeted him and he broke down again. He did a live interviews, and the tears were streaming. It's not easy to be annointed; it's a hell of a lot of pressure.

It's going to be interesting to see if people look back and point to the 2010 J-Bay contest as the moment the old guard passed the torch onto the new generation. Kelly and Mick Fanning went out early, and along with Jordy, a couple young guns advanced late into the contest. That said, Kelly and Mick (and Joel Parkinson, who was out due to injury) could easily bounce back and win at Tahiti. But it's looking like the new class is mounting an offensive to say "Enjoy retirement," to the older guys.

On to Tahiti and Teahupoo we go.

Photo: SURFER/Ellis

No comments: