11 January 2007
It seems there is no stopping Jordy Smith. The 18-year-old Durban surfer claimed the Billabong ASP World Junior Championship title after a hard-fought victory over Brazil’s Adriano de Souza, ranked twentieth in the world, at the weekend.
The R430 000 event is the most prestigious event on the junior calendar and Smith’s victory saw him join a list of winners that includes three-time world champion Andy Irons and Joel Parkinson, the only two-time winner of the competition.
Previously, Smith had problems advancing beyond the third round of the elite event, but after winning the ISA Surfing Games open title in Huntington Beach, finishing third in the Billabong Pro, and garnering the Van’s Triple Crown of Surfing Rookie of the Year award in Hawaii during 2006, his confidence was on a high and he showed it at North Narrabeen in Sydney.
One versus two
It came down to a showdown between De Souza, the top seed and a World Championship Tour surfer, and Smith, the second seed, and when it was all over Smith was the first ever South African winner of the World Junior Championship title.
The final was held in 1.3-metre waves and it was a back-and-forth affair as the lead changed hands four times before Smith clinched victory with the highest scoring ride of the heat, a 7.67.
Making his victory more remarkable was that Smith had to return to the beach near the end of the showdown for a replacement surfboard.
“It’s amazing,” Smith said afterwards. “I’ve never really done well in this event so it was great to be able to pull off a win for my family and friends back home in South Africa.”
“It was a good final and I’m stoked for Jordy right now,” De Souza said.
Smith’s victory not only saw him get his name alongside those of his idols, Irons and Parkinson, on the silverware, it also increases the likelihood of him campaigning with them on the elite World Championship Tour in 2008.
Besides adding about R45 000 to his bank balance, his victory earned him preferential seeding at every World Qualifying Series event in 2007. That will provide him with a big lift as he aims to finish in the top 15, which would qualify him for the World Championship Tour.