Lucy Small On: I Really Used To Hate Jordy Smith
COASTALWATCH | Feature
I Used To Hate Jordy Smith
Story by Lucy Small
Not with a passion or anything. It was just in the way that I didn’t want him to get through heats because the made up idea of him in my head wasn’t good. I also once saw him doing chin-ups in a bar, after he got knocked out of the Jbay Open and it was a reaction that screamed, “dick”. That was until I ran into him at a point break in Mozambique, and now - now he is my favourite surfer.
This story isn’t even really about Jordy. It’s actually about two brothers, half Mozambican, half South Korean brothers. I met them in a village on the coast of east Africa. When I first spoke to Junior, the older of the two, he was surfing the bottom half of a snapped gun. The innovative little tyke had sawed the front of the remaining board into a point and emblazoned it with the Mozambican flag. Junior dropped into, what were double overhead waves for him, and he moved that swan bit of kind of floating, fiberglass-foam-flag board looking thing, with a degree of precision far beyond his official nine years of life.
A year later Junior has a real board, minuscule and battered, but a craft that nonetheless encourages him take off late in hollow, right-handers, deep backhand bottom turns and flow seamlessly into racie, technical re-entries. His surfing has progressed to the point that he could go onto be the best surfer Mozambique has ever produced.
The rapid escalation of his technique probably has a lot to do with his younger brother Mini. Mini is 16 and his fro is a complete naturally sun affected bleach blonde. Mini is a walking surf report, red headphones in his ears he moves quickly from the bay to the point and back again. High tide, low tide over and then again. I don’t think I’ve even known somebody to surf so much. If it’s small and onshore or big and hollow you’re guaranteed to see at least one dark figure out at sea. It’s Mini. Always Mini.
I was going to write a story about these brothers and how excited I was to witness the first surfing exports of Mozambique. It was also going to be a slight bid to help them along with their journey, their dream and a road that could be bumpy. Life in Mozambique ‘aint easy. The boy’s family only live with enough money to send one of them to school and Junior is the fortunate older sibling who is given the pass of education. He attends the local international school whilst Mini’s time is spent as the part-time surf reporter, full-time surfer. Despite the opportunity for an education, Mini has big plans to somehow get cash together to head south and try his luck against his South African surfing rivals in Durban – for Mini surfing is quite literally his way out.
Enter Jordy Smith.
When I ran into him a few weeks ago, I was a little apprehensive about sharing my secret paradise with South Africa’s favourite son and his crew of lively cameramen. It was glassy when I paddled out at the point, the odd set was met with the classic sounds and excited heckling echoing down the line-up. Jordy was taking off deep, sitting-up the point and picking off everything everyone else was nowhere near quick enough to take. Mini and Junior were out and nearly hysterical with excitement to be around someone with such flair and precision, someone who resembled everything they want to be and where they want to go.
I watched as they shadowed him up and down the lineup. Mini pushed deeper and deeper, pulling in and holding his line longer and longer. It was wild to see how much his surfing intensified in just a few days of being around someone with the mad skills and inspirational aura of Jordy Smith.
It was in this session that my hate for Jordy promptly dissipated. In the blink of an eye, he skipped to the very top of my list of who I want to win a world title. He hooted at Junior as he took off on set waves, bellowing “PULL INNNN”, glued to his slight figure as he flew by. In the next set he hooted Mini in, and pushed Junior into the next.
It didn’t stop there either, soon he was like the prodigal son, cheering on everyone and creating a vibe in the water that the surfers had never felt. A young Mozambican girl named Charlotty was playing nearby and heard the commotion. She felt it and decided that that day was the day she’d try her luck out there on a surfboard. Jordy took her hand and helped her.
This was the practice of a humble man, and to me that eclipses John John’s unparalleled flare or Dane’s undying creativity.
Mini told me later that Jordy’s dad wanted to take him to Durban. He had proposed to get the no-name Mozambican brothers surfing his boards so they would never have to worry about getting their next craft. Papa Jords wants Mini to travel with Jordy in South Africa, to introduce him to the ways of the surf world and navigate the industry that he is destined to meet.
We will see the first Mozambican surfers compete at an international level it’s only a question of when. Thanks to a guy that I used to not spend much time thinking about, but now can’t get off my mind. Thanks Jords, you rule.
Lucy Small is a Western Australian gypsy currently spending her time travelling in Africa. There's nothing she loves more than drawing lines on green walls when it's 6 foot & offshore, anywhere with a coastline. After one million hours of interning with Surfing World Magazine, she's out on her own sending home tales of the big, wide yonder. You can follow her adventures on Saltwater Pilgrim.
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