Nine-time ASP world champ Kelly Slater is the most common name when considering competitive surfing, but our very own Durban born Jordy Smith is one to watch! In 2006, at the age of 18 Jordy won the ASP World Junior Championships and took first place at the Billabong Pro. Now 22, ranked second in the world and on his third ASP World Tour, 6 foot 2 Jordy Smith is set to dominate the famous Jeffrey’s Bay Supertube break between 15-25 July. There is also another South African on the ASP tour, 31 year old Travis Logie, ranked 30th. We spoke to Jordy about life on the tour and the best waves.
Where are you based?
I’ve been living in Newport Beach in California. Its made traveling a lot easier as the locations on the tour are based around the States for the first half of the year.
How has the tour been so far?
The ASP World Tour has been a bunch of fun this year! I started on the Gold Coast in Australia where I ended up in second place, followed by placing fifth at Bells Beach in Victoria! The last contest was in Brazil where I also placed fifth. We had a bunch of fun over there, can’t complain seeing girls in bikinis!
What are you looking forward to at the Billabong Pro?
The contest has been one that I’ve wanted to win ever since I was a youngster. I think the best thing is that it is going to be me surfing in front of my home crowd. I will just do the best I can for myself and my country!
How often do you surf?
I at least try surf once or twice a day, but someday I don’t get the chance to as its not all just surf these days anymore. I have a few other commitments including interviews, movie roles and contract obligations. I wish it was just surf play surf!
What are your favourite surf spots in the world?
I would say home just cause I have had some of my best surfs in SA, but everywhere has its moments, it just depends on the sand banks and swell direction. Australia, Hawaii and Indonesia all have great waves!
Now based in Durban, Andrew Pollock is a keen up and coming freestyle surf kayaker who gives us the low down on surf kayaking as a sport, how it differs from river kayaking and some of the best spots in SA.
How big is sea kayaking?
Surf kayaking is a very small sport in South Africa. Most of the guys who are kayaking in the surf are paddling whitewater kayaks which are not specifically designed for ocean waves. Internationally, surf kayaking is more popular especially in Europe and some parts of the US. There is also a world champs that takes place every two years.
What is the difference between surf and river kayaking?
Surf kayaking is very similar to waves ski paddling, its all about riding the wave and doing carves and turns on the face as well as off the lip tricks. River kayaking actually has two categories – ‘whitewater’ which is paddling down rapids and waterfalls and then there is ‘freestyle’ which involves surfing stationary river waves and doing all sorts of tricks and maneuvers whilst surfing that wave.
How did you get into kayaking?
I got into kayaking about eight years ago when a friend of mine started paddling after his dad taught him how to eskimo roll. We started paddling in the rivers, but living in East London we soon realised there is good surf far more often than there are flowing rivers. Because of the mix of paddling I did, I now have a mixed style that sits somewhere between surf kayaking and freestyle kayaking.
What excites you most about sea kayaking?
I enjoy just being out there catching waves and being with mates, it’s very similar to surfing in that respect. One of the other things I enjoy is the travel aspect. Over the years I have paddled in more that 12 countries around the world. A lot of the kayak destinations are off the beaten track so you tent to interact more with the local people and get a totally different sense of a place than if you were just a regular tourist.
Where are your favourite surf kayak spots in SA?
My favourite surf spot has to be Nahoon Reef in East London. I learnt to paddle there and I still haven’t found a wave that is as good and as consistent as Nahoon. The Transkei coastline also has quite a few tops quality breaks, such as Mdumbi and Breezy Point.
Did you know?
The world’s top all round kayaker as voted for on the professional kayaking scene, comes from South Africa? Durban born Steve Fisher competes and travels the world through kayaking.