Jordy Smith is my New Favourite Surfer
I used to hate Jordy Smith.
Not with a passion or anything, just in the way that I didn’t want him to get through heats because the made up idea of him in my head wasn’t good and I once saw him doing chin ups in a bar after he got knocked out of the Jbay Open, a reaction that screamed “dick”. That was until I ran into him at a point break in Mozambique and now, now he is my favourite surfer.
This story isn’t even really about Jordy. This story is actually about two brothers, half Mozambican half South Korean that I met in a village on the coast in East Africa. When I first met Junior, the youngest, he was surfing the bottom half of a snapped gun that he’d sawed the front of into a point and emblazoned with the Mozambican flag. He dropped into what were double overhead waves for him, moving that thing with a degree of precision far beyond his short nine years.
A year later Junior has a real board, miniscule and battered, but a craft that nonetheless lets him take of late in hollow right handers, deep backhand bottom turns into racey, technical re-entries. His surfing has progressed to the point that he could go on to be the best surfer Mozambique has ever produced.
The rapid escalation of his technique probably has a lot to do with his older brother Mini. Mini is 16 and his fro is almost completely blonde from too many hours spent in the sun. Mini is a walking surf report, red headphones in his ears, from the bay to the point and back. High tide, low tide over and over. I don’t think I’ve even known somebody to surf so much. If it’s small and onshore or big and hollow you’re guaranteed to see at least one dark figure lost at sea. It’s Mini. Always Mini.
I was going to write a story about these brothers and how excited I am to witness the first surfing exports out of Mozambique, also in a slight bid to help them with it. Life in Mozambique ‘aint easy, the boys family only with enough money to send one of them to school, hence Mini being a full time beach goer and Junior attending the local international school. Mini has big plans to somehow get the cash together to head south to Durban to try his luck against his South African counterparts – for Mini surfing is quite literally his way out.
And this is where Jordy Smith comes in.
When I ran into him a few weeks ago, I was a little apprehensive about sharing my secret paradise with South Africa’s favourite son and his crew of lively cameramen. It was glassy when I paddled out at the point and the odd set was met with the classic sounds of an excited lineup. Jordy was taking off deep, sitting up the point and picking off everything everyone else was nowhere near quick enough to take. Mini and Junior were out, excited at being around someone with such flare and precision.
I watched as they shadowed him up and down the lineup, Mini pushing deeper and deeper, pulling in and holding his line longer and longer. It was wild to see how much his surfing intensified in just a few days of being around someone with the mad skills of Jordy.
Anyway, it was in this session that my hate for Jordy promptly dissipated and he skipped to the very top of my list of who I want to win a world title. He hooted at Junior as he took off on set waves, bellowing “PULL INNNN” as Junior flew by. In the next set he hooted Mini in, and pushed Junior into the next.
It didn’t stop there either, soon he was hooting at everyone, pushing Charlotty, a young Mozambican girl that decide to try her luck out there, purely because she was nearby.
This was the practice of a humble man and to me that eclipses John John’s unparalleled flare or Dane’s undying creativity.
Mini told me later that Jordy’s dad wants to take him to Durban. To get the brothers surfing his boards so they never have to worry about how they’re going to get their hands on their next craft. Papa Jords wants Mini to travel with Jordy a bit in South Africa, to get to know the surf industry and Jordy himself wants to help Mini navigate.
So maybe we will see the first Mozambicans surfers at an international level, thanks to a guy that I used to hate. Thanks Jords, you rule.