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Jordy Smith

Stoke to the Universe

by Andy Davis / 08.05.2012

So I’m sitting in the Vida in Camps Bay waiting to interview the undisputed heavyweight of South African surfing, Jordy Smith. He’s late, I’ve been here 45 minutes already. My phone rings and that latte’s left me feeling gassy and bloated. It’s Craig Jarvis, Jordy’s de facto media manager. “He’s not coming bru,” is all he says. I feel like I’m in a spy movie. “He doesn’t want to do the interview.” OK, so there’s a bit of backstory here. The first time I met Jordy Smith, he was a sparkly-eyed 15 year old surfing prodigy radiating stoke to the universe in the parking lot at Supers. The sky being the limit, but the fame and the hype hadn’t really landed. About 4 years later, I met him at a signing and asked him to write: ‘I love cougars’ on my poster. He reacted frostily and told me to fuck off. We still managed to get a terse little interview done, (Jordy’s a professsional) but the rapport was gone. About a year later, Warwick Wok Wright invited me to a private little surf competition Jordy was hosting at Llandudno, between two of his closest mates. With Wok as my guide (a poor idea to begin with) I wrote a little burner of what went down. Andy Davis on the burning bridges tour, once again. Invariably, his best mate, Steve “Laces” Michelsen came off looking a bit kak. What I suspect happened in Camps Bay, that left me hanging at the Vida, was that Jordy announced to his entourage that he had an interview with this Andy Davis cat lined up and Steve-o tuned him not to do it. “Nought hey Jord… Fuck that poes!”

So as long stories go, I left Camps Bay deflated and reached out to Steve, trying to make things right. After apologising for any trouble my original Laces Invitational article may have created for him, the mood improved and now, on the eve of the Billabong Pro in Rio, with two events down and eight to go, and Jordy occupying 5th place in the World Title rankings, we finally got to do our interview… Thar she blows!

Jordy Smith

Mahala: 2012 is a big year for you. You did really well in 2010 when you almost won the Championship and finished second. Then last year you got injured and a whole bunch of new blood arrived (Owen Wright, Gabriel Medina) on the tour. And this year looks like it’s going to be even more competitive with John-John Florence and Taj and Parko still pushing for the number one spot. Not to mention the constant threat of old man Slater. How do you feel about your chances?

Jordy Smith: I feel good this year. It really boils down to what I can control and i’m not worrying what everyone else is doing I’m just focusing on me.

In retrospect 2010, was a golden opportunity for you to win the World Title. Do you lie awake and think about that? Do you regret anything. Given another chance to live that year, would you do anything differently?

No not at all. I think things turned out the way they did for a reason. I don’t think coming second in the world is anything to be ashamed of or regret.

How do you stay motivated. You’ve basically made more money, by the time you’re 24, than most people do in their lifetime. You could quite easily quit everything, get married, have a family, travel the world and surf and do what you like everyday. From your position, how do you motivate yourself to go and win a World Title?

Well money is not everything in a person’s life and a world title is all I’ve wanted ever since I was a little kid. It’s been my number one priority, always. And when I wake up every morning and see fun waves out my window it’s pretty hard not to be motivated as all I want to do is go out and surf good waves… One day of course I want to get married and have a family but right now I know what I want and I’m doing it.

How do you deal with the celebrity of being South Africa’s number one surfer? Does it freak you out sometimes, or do you just learn to roll with it?

I dont deal with it. It’s not something I think about.

The media hasn’t always been kind to you. Stab burned you on that Joys of Sex piece a few years back (the one about cougars and anal, which Stab subsequently deleted) and then there was the whole Jordy’s nipples are too close together meme. How do you deal with gratuitous shit like that? Does it get you upset, or do you just brush it off?

To be honest I don’t really care what people write/say/think about me. The people that know me, know exactly who I am and what I’m like. If you’re in the public eye it just comes with the territory.

How did you feel when Dane Reynolds tweeted that he thought John-John Florence was the best surfer in the world right now? Was it like, hey dude, what about me?

Every person is entitled to their own opinion and no I wasn’t, like, “hey dude what about me?” To me Kelly Slater is the best surfer in the world… different opinions… we are allowed to have them.

You’re in a relationship with Lyndall Jarvis, a successful fashion model, winner of FHM’s sexiest woman in South Africa. I reckon you probably wouldn’t change that for the world, but does this relationship distract you from focussing on your surfing and winning the World Title? Or does it help keep you focussed and primed? If so, how?

It definitely keeps me focused and grounded. Traveling the world can be lonely, so I appreciate having Lyndall around. Experiencing all these things around the world is way more exciting when you get to share it with someone.

Jordy Smith

There was a stage just before you made the CT, when there were a lot of rumours circulating that you might immigrate to Australia. What was the story there? Did the Aussies try and lure you with the big bucks? Or was that story totally blown out of proportion?

Yes it’s true and I thought about it for my family, but South Africa is home. And it’s the only country I want to ride for! We haven’t had a world champion for a long time and I want to be the person that brings home the title.

Do you still enjoy surfing? Because when something becomes your full time “job”, no matter what it is, that always takes some of the enjoyment out of it.

Yes, every single surf, good or bad. It’s more than a lifestyle for me. It has become my religion.

How do you keep your stoke for surfing alive?

I dont have to keep it alive, it’s always there, it will never go away. It’s never the same, the conditions are always different, no two waves are alike, therefore it’s always a challenge.

Are you doing any interesting / innovative training for the tour this year?

Not really. I’m just focusing on the things I can control like equipment, my diet and flexibility. The rest is just about going out there and having fun.

Who do you see as your biggest threat for the crown this year?

All 44 of them! Everyone is gunning for the same thing. There are always the usual suspects that stand out and then there are a few newcomers that are pretty good… I’m just focusing on me.

When your career is over, how do you want to be remembered?

As someone who pushed the sport of surfing to new levels and someone who kids can look up to. A good role model!

What’s the one thing nobody ever asks in these interviews that you think they should?

What’s my favorite colour? Its blue, by the way… HA HA HA.

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RESPONSES (18)
  1. WaveFin says:

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  2. cnut says:

    Well Jordy clearly knows a douche-bag Davis when he sees one… not to mention he’s more than likely read your douche-bag comments on many a thread… and for those not in the know… ‘Laces’ as you called him… is in fact also his PA… so I don’t blame him for snubbing Douche-bag Davis (a term coined many moons back even at New Pier)…

    So close Jordy against Parko recently… bummer… but I don’t rate his chances backhand in Brazil…

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  3. Skunk says:

    Douche-bag Davis. Hahaha. But oh, such hate. Andy seems to be one of only a few journos with enough old-school balls and tell it like it is integrity left in this game. What’s the matter cnut, does he not kiss enough pro-surfer arse for your likings?
    Sounds like Jordy was the douche-bag more than anything in this exchange. Andy, you’ll need to be more of a sycophant to get close to these guys. That’s how it unfortunately works nowadays. Constant ego massing, don’t ask too many hard questions, and you’ll be able to churn out the stock standard pro surfer article that’s become the norm. Sigh.

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  4. Andy says:

    Spam, hate, love… I see progress here!

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  5. Joe Kool says:

    I think I know this cnut from Durban… if it’s the same guy, he’s a full time malcontent.

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  6. mega-douche says:

    I completely enjoyed the questions Andy put to him! Sounded like a mildy frosty interview. For one thing, if Jordy was Aussie or Yankee, we’d hate on him hard. Ignoring how he rides a surfboard, what else has this guy got in the way of charisma etc? Lonely on the road? Hello? Does he not have an entourage, and papa and laces with him. I dunno.. I like to pick the surfers i support, based on more than the flag they fly.

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  7. Cocoman says:

    So basically what I’ve learnt about Jordy off Mahala is that he cant write and that Lyndall like it up the poo passage. Nice read all the same!

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  8. jackjon says:

    good job andy for asking the champ the questions everyone talks about.
    good job jordy for trying to be humble. betta late than never.

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  9. jackjon says:

    having said that. we all love you. seriously.

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  10. brandon edmonds says:

    Yeah @Skunk when I think Andy Davis I think ‘integrity’…

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  11. Jag says:

    When I think Andy Davis I think “sensationalism”, trying to appeal to the self-proclaimed armchair cynics who pass themselves off as experts on every topic Mahala tries to have an opinion on and in the process aggravate these comment boards, to get more monthly users, to in turn sell to advertisers.
    The Blackberry/Puma/DSTV adverts all over Mahala, then make me think “Hypocrite.”, especially after DoucheBag Davis slates the Surfers in Blue-crush for effectively doing the same as him in their chosen professions. Cock.

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  12. Laces says:

    Andy, by the coldness of the interview. I think he still reckons you’re a poes

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  13. cnut says:

    @Jag… you mean you don’t use adblock plus in Chrome or Firefox?

    Not one ad on Mahala or anywhere else if you are.

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  14. Elizabeth says:

    Emigrate, not immigrate!

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  15. Andy says:

    thanks Liz, I always get them words mixed up.

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  16. journo my ass says:

    andy loves to tell it like it is so long as he can make himself feature front and center of his own little self created dramas. yeah, spend 1/2 of a story about a world class surfing pro writing your self up to be a gee-gosh-naughty-boy writer. because what everyone is here to read about is you. laaaaaaaaame.

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  17. sinoluthando says:

    u guyz r really rockin
    whr cn i get a copy

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  18. Mohmed says:

    dooma u say that is mex must have been late last summer ..maybe the early seosan wnw swell that hit us end of september 2010, becos you sure as f*ck were not surfing northern baja early april in boxers your nuts wd have frozen solid.jp saffa in sd

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