ON THE BOIL

CAN JORDY SMITH TURN A ROUGH START TO 2014 INTO A FE­RO­CIOUS FIN­ISH?

Tracks - - Buzz - BY BEN BUG­DEN

2014 hasn’t quite gone to script for Jordy Smith. It be­gan promis­ingly. A big off sea­son prepa­ra­tion and a dec­la­ra­tion he would be putting free-surf­ing and video parts aside for a fresh and in­vig­o­rated at­tack on the tour. All signs were pos­i­tive. How­ever, this was met with an abrupt slap in the face at the first event of the year, de­liv­ered by a shock sec­ond-round loss to vet­eran Ti­ago Pires.

Jordy bounced back at Mar­garets with a 5th place. Shak­ing off his loss on the Gold Coast, he showed signs of the bril­liant form he is car­ry­ing. Only an an­gry Bede Dur­bidge, surf­ing on pure emo­tion af­ter his con­tro­ver­sial re-surf with Taj Bur­row, could stop Jordy’s ad­vance fur­ther into the event.

Then came Bells. The South African was in sublime nick. No one it seemed, not even Parko and Mick were match­ing the sheer bru­tal­ity and wa­ter move­ment Jordy was dish­ing out in the bowl. His name re­peated in post-heat in­ter­view af­ter post-heat in­ter­view as the one to watch. Then in round five he met Ju­lian Wil­son.

Jordy started the heat well, putting the first keeper on the board – a 7.33. Ju­lian then saw and raised Jordy with an 8.17.

This is when Jordy made his fa­tal mis­take. Un­der­es­ti­mat­ing what Ju­lian could do on a mid-size wave, Jordy let Jules take off un­der pri­or­ity. J-dub went ba­nanas, earn­ing a 9.13.

Jordy knew he’d fucked up and it was writ­ten all over his face. He had no one to blame but him­self. It was a break­ing point for him. The South African Lion had a thorn in his paw. His eyes glazed over. Anger.

Then the south­ern ocean threw him a life­line. A mid-sized wave rolled into the bowl and Jordy swooped with sec­onds to go. Jordy surfed that wave un­like any he’s surfed on tour be­fore. He surfed as if his very life de­pended on the ten points he needed. He was fu­ri­ous, the rage volted through his body, through his feet and into his board. He fuck­ing de­stroyed that wave. But it wasn’t to be … 9.93

Still, there are pos­i­tives. The fire has been lit, and the best part is that it was Jordy him­self who lit it. The Jordy we’ve been long­ing to see was un­leashed.

By the time you read this he may have surfed his event in Brazil – an event he goes into as de­fend­ing cham­pion. But as I write the con­test is two days away from be­gin­ning and I can't wait to see Jordy’s first wave, and the rest of his 2014.

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