It’s impossible to think about surfing without the association of Jordy Smith – South Africa’s legend of the waves. If anybody was going to make it to the first Olympic surfing competition, it would have to be our very own local RedBull athlete – pure stoke!
Smith secured his spot through The World Surf League Champion Tour in 2020. He will be representing South Africa for the very first time, alongside 18 other athletes.
Lockdown, our old demise, meant that no surfers were allowed to dip a toe in the ocean for months. Nonetheless, Jordy is proving he has both the heart and skill to make up for the lost time.
Here’s what the surfer had to say:
“My initial reaction: how am I going to be a part of it, and what’s my process and my road going to be like to be able to get there, and what kind of steps [do I] have to put in place to be able to get there.”
The all-important prep:
“As far as the preparation for the Olympics, obviously, it’s in Japan, and the waves are going to be pretty small. So my training had to shift a little bit, you know. I took a week and a half to two weeks out of the year to be able to go and prepare for the Olympics, and just kind of went to that actual location [to shape and design] voids and equipment around [it] to be able to become familiar with it.”
“The biggest challenges… in Tokyo, in Japan, are probably going to be the small waves, at least for myself, because I’m a bigger guy, I’m probably the biggest guy on tour.
“As far as equipment goes, it’s night and day between Jeffrey’s Bay and Japan. You know, Jeffrey’s Bay, I’m using more of a good wave kind of quality surfboard, as opposed to Japan, it’s gonna be a lot smaller, a lot more volume. And more liters inside the board for smaller waves.
“They’re pretty gutless in Japan as opposed to here in Jeffrey’s Bay. Obviously, you can get a typhoon over there. But it’s very rare to happen that time of year, you know, in July. So, you know, you just kind of prepare for the worst and give it your all.”
“I don’t ever think I dreamt about being in the Olympics. I never thought it was a possibility. And now that it’s actually kind of come to life, and for me to be able to be in the Olympics and going to the Olympics, representing South Africa. I think [that] now, the only thing left is to win gold.”
Source: RedBull Content Pool
Picture: Trevor Moran