Jordy Smith is ready to make waves at the Olympics
JOHANNESBURG - Surfung might not be in the mind’s eye of the majority of South Africans – it does operate as a niche sport after all – but come the Tokyo Games later this year, it might very well come to the fore in the consciousness of the nation.
And that shift will be all due to SA surfer Jordy Smith, who will participate in the shortboard event – one of 20 men – at the Games and become another Olympian to be proud of.
The 33-year-old medal hopeful is a multiple champion in his discipline and was the first surfer to qualify for Tokyo. The delays to the Games have been frustrating but Smith believes that he is ready to bring back some metal for the country.
“I am not going there for a haircut,” said Smith in an interview with Independent Media this week. “This is something that I’ve done and trained for my whole life, and it is just to go there and put on the rash vest and go give it the horns, and go give it everything and make my country, my family, and myself proud.”
Covid-19 has obviously played its part in Smith’s preparations but he believes that it made him a better surfer. Said Smith: “With the Olympics coming closer and closer, you start looking at things: How can I box cleverly, how can I be smart about everywhere that I go train? Instead of blowing out my mind and my body, I’m training a bit smarter than before,” he continued. “I feel the work has to be done before you arrive at the Olympics – all the boxes have to be ticked.”
The surfing event at the Olympics will be held at Shidashita Beach, located some 40km east of Tokyo. It is a stretch of land Smith has become intimate with, and which presents its own set of challenges. “I have been there a bunch … just making sure that I tick the boxes in my preparation,” he said.
“The waves are small, very small and I am obviously one of the bigger guys in the professional surfing world. I stand at 1.88m, the majority of the other surfers are 1.7m, so they are at a bit of an advantage there. That’s where I come in with my technique, and with my equipment.
“My equipment has to be so on point, so dialled in, that it will actually be beneficial for me at that point. With the amount of time that I have been spending there, it will really help.”
It will be the first time surfing will be held at the Olympics. Sixteen days have been set aside for the event – two days for the actual competition – as organisers wait on Mother Nature to produce the perfect conditions to surf.
For now, Smith has only one statement to declare to his fellow competitors: Bring them on!