O’Neill surfer and third rated Championship Tour competitor Jordy Smith won the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong in front of a packed beach of local spectators on Saturday 8 July, defeating natural-footed Brazilian Willian Cardoso. This is Smith’s second Ballito Pro win, with his previous victory at the event back in 2010.
The big South African overcame a stomach bug that almost disrupted his charge in mid-week to reach the final. He managed to overcome the illness to find unrivaled rhythm for the rest of the event, and charged all the way through to the final day, when he found his peak performance.
“Obviously I love being in Ballito, this will always be the first real contest that I ever competed in on the international stage, so there’s a lot of history and it means a lot to me,” said Jordy of the contest. “It’s a great opportunity for me to stay in tune.”
The theory worked, and he was in tune for the final day in good, contestable conditions at Willard Beach. Smith first eliminated Brazilian goofy-footer Miquel Pupo in the quarterfinals, before beating fellow South African Mikey February in the semi-finals.
“Secretly I was a little bummed for Mikey February. I would have liked to be in the finals with him,” commented Smith on the Kommetjie surfer. “I just wish him all the best, I really hope he brings it and joins me on the tour next year.”
In the final it was Jordy up against the powerful Brazilian Willian Cardoso in the powerful right-handers spinning off over the Willard Beach sandbank. Both surfers had a decent start, until Jordy picked up a set wave, saw a ramp section and took to the skies for arguably the biggest air move of the entire event and a score of 9.73, leaving Cardoso chasing a massive score at the back end of the heat.
Jordy found the ramps and took to the skies in the final. © Van Gysen
“I had a bit of a slow start, but I ended up sticking that first air and from there I was actually enjoying my surf out there,” said Smith. “Eventually I got that one wave with a nice section and got one of the biggest ramps all week and just went for it and I landed it.”
“I’m really happy with my performance this week and hopefully I can take this momentum to J-Bay,” said Smith. “It’s such an honour winning this event with so many of my friends and family here.”
His win will see Smith receive a massive boost of confidence as he heads to Jeffreys Bay for the Corona Open JBay – Stop No. 6 of 11 on the WSL Championship Tour starting on Wednesday where he is a former two-time event winner, having banked wins in 2010 and 2011.