Jordy Smith

The World Tour of Surfing is a scene, and for some people it’s totally alien, totally against what they think surfing is all about. There are people who don’t believe that surfing was ever supposed to be a competitive sport, that Nat Young blew it all those years ago when he made out that surfing was more of a competitive sport than a lifestyle. Yet there are thousands upon thousands more who are totally hooked to the competitive side of surfing and to the exploits of people like Kelly Slater, Taj Burrow, Jordy Smith and Adriano de Souza.

Some people believe that competitive surfing takes away from the beauty of surfing, that riding two to the beach, that claiming waves to the judges, that doing sliding white water moves comprises the ugly side of surfing. Jordy is one person who believes that the two, in fact many types of surfing, complement each other. We caught up with him in Australia to get his thoughts on the matter.

Jordy, does competitive surfing add to or take away from the essence of surfing?

Surfing has become so broad now. There are so many different aspects of surfing. There is competitive surfing, profession and amateur. There’s free surfing and big wave surfing and long board surfing. There’s also windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding and more. There are so many different types of surfing; it all depends on what you as a person, as an individual, like the most.

That’s it. It’s an individual thing. Whatever blows your hair back.

Surfing is totally an individual thing.  And in my life I love to compete I love to put my rash vest on and to be put in situations where you’re losing and you’ve got three minutes on the clock to get that winning wave, to pick up a bomb.

Yes, but not everybody is into that.

Exactly, other people don’t have that feeling that fire to compete. They just like to go out there and enjoy their time in the water, to relax and to not have any pressure.

Some people just like to go for a surf as a release from everyday life.

I think the greatest surfer is the person who can do it all. There is that type of person who can excel in all disciplines and who really enjoys all the different forms of board riding.

Yes. The multi-talented surfer who can just go out there and have an absolute blast on whatever equipment is available, be it a kite board or a long board, a fish or a gun.

The type of surfer who just enjoys it all. Whether it’s big waves or small waves and competitions and free surfing and movie parts. That’s why those sorts of people get paid so well to do what they do.

There are a couple of people like this out there.

Yes. You mentioned surfing on a fish. Much of this multi-talented type of wave rider goes back to Tom Curren. He could do it all. Now days there are guys like Slater and Dorian. Guys who just go out there and do it.

It all forms part of the big world we live in, the world of surfing.

Yes. In a nutshell competitive surfing doesn’t take anything away from the fun of going surfing. It adds to it. It’s all about going surfing and having fun, however you look at it. Just because I want to win doesn’t make any difference. When I paddle out for a surf, whether it is in a heat or just with my friends, I still thin to myself, ‘How good is this?


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