Smith said in Durban that he was tired of being the bridesmaid on the World Surf League’s Championship tour - he has been the runner-up twice - and that “my time is now”.
He was going to put his head down and “give it a go”, he said.
And on Wednesday, in Bells Beach, Torquay, Australia, Smith lifted the winner’s trophy in the 2017 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach competition, which rocketed him to the No 2 spot in the WSL Jeep Rankings.
To win the event after 10 years of trying, was “incredible”, he told the WSL reporter.
Smith, who travels the world on the surfing tour, was in Durban last month for the official launch of the new City Surf Series being held this weekend, and for the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing (the grand finale of the series) in June.