THE SMITHY SES­SIONS

JUST BE­FORE THIS IS­SUE WENT TO PRINT WE GOT TO HANG WITH CUR­RENT WORLD NUM­BER ONE IN THE WELSH HILLS. FOR TWO DAYS JORDY SESSIONED THE SURF SNOW­DO­NIA POOL AND HUNG OUT WITH STOKED O'NEILL RE­TAIL­ERS WHO HAD NO IDEA HE WAS GO­ING TO BE GUEST OF HON­OUR. WE MA

Carve - - FILE - IN­TER­VIEW BY SHARPY, AC­TION PHO­TOS STEVE ENG­LAND PORTRAITS TOBY BUT­LER

Is this first time vis­it­ing Surf Snow­do­nia?

It's ac­tu­ally my sec­ond, I came here two years ago for the Red Bull event but I was in­jured so couldn't re­ally surf. I pad­dled out on a soft top and caught a few lit­tle ones but this is my first time re­ally surf­ing it and it's re­ally fun.

Did you go to the test site in the Basque Coun­try be­fore this one opened?

I did when they first started, it was pretty small, and was dif­fi­cult for me to ride. It was back when it was just a small left on the black tarp, like a pond. They've come a long way.

How about other pools, have you been to the Dubai one? No not been to one of those style pools, Dion's clip was in­cred­i­ble, and Ju­lian's night clip from Tener­ife was nuts. But the Ocean Dome in Ja­pan looked like the funnest to surf un­til they shut it down. And now there's Kelly's one...

You were there for the test event, how was surf­ing Kelly's ranch?

It was in­cred­i­ble to surf it. It's still a bit small for me but ap­par­ently they can make it go big­ger. And it's re­ally wind de­pen­dant like here, so it'll be off­shore one way and on­shore the other so it was hard to get bar­relled for me. The ac­tual shape of the wave is re­ally good.

Is it as me­chan­i­cal as it looks? Ev­ery wave seems to be a car­bon copy.

Ex­actly. You end up just count­ing ... 1,2,3, set up, tube, come out, two turns, air. That's kind of the run.

Do you think pool surf­ing will end up like a gym­nas­tics rou­tine?

It'll get to a point where they'll have to put trace tech­nol­ogy in the boards. So you can sci­en­tif­i­cally tell who's push­ing harder, who's go­ing higher, who's get­ting deeper and that'll be the point of dif­fer­ence. Guys will ob­vi­ously surf dif­fer­ent but there'll be a cer­tain run that works the best.

You think wave pools have a place in big league com­pe­ti­tion in the fu­ture? Maybe if it's one tenth or eleventh, so it con­trib­utes a small part of a world ti­tle chase. Next year there's an event in May but I'm not sure if it'll be a CT. The pools will only get bet­ter. This is just the be­gin­ning of wave pools re­ally. Five years is a long time, in five years we could see an eight-foot slab. I think there's a def­i­nite fu­ture in it, I'm not too sure how much money they'll make out of it, but there's def­i­nitely a fu­ture.

That seems to be the con­trast be­tween Wave­g­ar­den and Kelly's pool: this is more ac­ces­si­ble to the av­er­age Joe. Yeah, ex­actly, this is more user friendly for peo­ple to learn and to surf on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Not

too many peo­ple are go­ing to pay to pad­dle out on an eight­foot slab.

Mov­ing on to the tour ... are you look­ing for­ward to the Euro­pean leg with your yel­low jersey?

I love France and Por­tu­gal, even though I've not had a de­cent re­sult in France in a long time, but that doesn't mean any­thing. I re­ally en­joy the space. You can get away and surf lit­tle banks on the down low and it's very dif­fer­ent to most lo­ca­tions we go to. Fiji is sim­i­lar to Tahiti, the whole of Aus­tralia blends into one, J-bay is ob­vi­ously its own gig and then there's Brazil. Th­ese next two legs are very sep­a­rate and there's a lot cul­ture. A lot of stuff to do and sights to see. So much to do and get stoked on apart from just surf­ing.

The wife com­ing with? Def­i­nitely. She's my num­ber one sup­porter and the per­son I care most about in the world and she's a mean cook. She doesn't come to ev­ery event, like not all of Oz or Brazil, so it's good when she is there.

How men­tal is Rio?

They are the most pas­sion­ate peo­ple. They are just fu­ri­ous about surf­ing, they love it. They live, breathe, eat, sleep surf­ing. It's pretty cool ac­tu­ally.

How's the con­ver­sa­tion go­ing with chang­ing the tour? Ru­mour is the Euro leg towns are ner­vous.

I've only been to one meet­ing so far but I think 2019 is the big change. There's a lot of talk be­tween the WSL and the surfers. They're pretty go ahead about it. We've got an­other meet­ing com­ing up in France. I don't know what the changes are of­fi­cially, there are ru­mours like start­ing in Hawaii, then Por­tu­gal then Oz, but I can't con­firm any­thing. I'm of the mind­set re­ally that they'll just tell me where I need to be and I'll come surf and do my thing.

And fi­nally I seem to be ask­ing ev­ery­one this: what's your view on surf­ing be­ing in the Olympics?

Er­rrrrrm. Yeah. I think it's an op­por­tu­nity for surf­ing to be in­volved. Sure it's not the best lo­ca­tion for it in Ja­pan. That said we've got to start some­where. I don't know if that spot is go­ing to be ideal. A wave pool is prob­a­bly go­ing to give us a bet­ter op­por­tu­nity. Hav­ing the world stage, want­ing peo­ple to look at us and go 'surf­ing is pretty cool' if we're in the ocean and it's dead flat the au­di­ence will be all like 'this sucks!'

Any idea on how se­lec­tion is go­ing to work yet?

No. Ev­ery­one is try­ing to fig­ure out the lo­gis­tics. All the dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions are fight­ing over who's go­ing to run it and all that kind of stuff. Ev­ery­one has to have a fair shot. That's what the Olympics are about.

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