“I think where you grow up and the style of waves you ride growing up definitely shapes you into the type of surfer you become.” That feeling, courtesy of Jordy Smith, couldn’t be more evident in Jordy Smith’s surf. Smith is the power surfer of a power surfer – big turns, incredible amounts of speed, and the kind of surf that comes from the thighs.
He grew up in Durban, South Africa. It’s a place full of hard-hitting beachbreaks and sandbanks that create tubes right for freight trains. In the most recent episode of Silver lining, Smith goes from Cape Town to Durban to chase an easterly swell that was lining up pretty much perfectly. Unfortunately, his familiarity with the waves he grew up on doesn’t mean he’s invincible there. And on that particular trip, he got injured so much that he had to withdraw from the Olympics – something that must have been a very difficult decision.
“When I first took off on the wave,” he recalls, “I thought, ‘oh, this is going to be the wave of the day’. I asked a friend if he was going to go at the very last minute. It was his turn to go, but he said ‘no, no, no.’ So I turned and went to shoot the cannon. Next thing, I saw the dog’s door, I saw a little light. I tried to squeal and as I tried to squeak my whole lip landed right on the side of me. I just fell and hit the bridge. It was that big crackle. In my head I’m like ‘no, no, I’m fine. I just have to row. It will be fine. I tried to get up on the next two or three waves, but just then knew something had happened.