On 4 December, in the heaviest qualification event of the year, Jordy Smith took the win at the Vans World Cup and stamped out his first victory on Hawaiian waves.
The South African surfer was undeniably the most on point athlete at the big wave venue. He overtook a stacked Final that included Frederico Morais (Portugal), Torrey Meister (Hawaii) and Tanner Gudauskas (US).
Of the win, Smith said:
Unbelievable, I can’t believe it. I feel like this event has eluded me in the past. I didn’t have any expectations, I think that was the difference for this event. I just kind of went out there with an open mind. Thanks to everyone who supported me.
A Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 rated event, the Vans World Cup marks Smith’s second competitive victory this year, his first a Championship Tour (CT) win at the Hurley Pro at Trestles in September. But a win in Hawaii has eluded him since he began competing professionally.
Early in my career I made a couple finals out here, I really had something going with the place. I don’t know, it’s been like six or seven years where I just couldn’t do a thing right. And then, everything just came together this year so I’m just really happy.
Watch the action from the day:
Gudauskas opened the Final with two waves for a leg up on competitors and set the tone with strong backhand turns and a 5.0 for keeps. Smith answered back with a super smooth 6.33 on an open face and demonstrated his tactful rail game and signature carves.
With priority, Morais dropped the first score of significance to take the lead, an 8.23 for a nice carve which set him up for a layback snap on the inside section. Steadily pacing himself throughout the event, Morais made few mistakes and jumped up the QS ratings to the No. 3 slot after his runner up finish today.
Meister went vertical on his first wave for a 4.77 and showed an uninhibited attitude with his commitment. But drama unfolded after Smith secured an 8.73 – the highest single wave score of the Final – to shake up the final standings. Morais and Meister attempted to catch the South African with a few more waves, but Smith’s excellent score cemented his lead on opponents and ultimately the win.
Of Smith’s performance, Meister said:
He always fits this wave really well. He’s always one of the best guys out here. Just his hacks, he’s got probably the best hack in the business. He really suits this wave and he’s really powerful.
1st – Jordy Smith (ZAF), 10000 points
2nd – Frederico Morais (PRT), 8000 points
3rd – Torrey Meister (HAW), 6700 points
4th – Tanner Gudauskas (USA), 6300 points
The 2016 international QS came to a close after the event and sees a new organisation of names in the top 10 spots. Athletes listed in order of 1st through 10th on the QS: Connor O’Leary (AUS), Ethan Ewing (AUS), Frederico Morais (PRT), Joan Duru (FRA), Kanoa Igarashi (USA), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Jadson Andre (BRA), Ian Gouveia (BRA) and Jack Freestone (AUS).
The surf industry now moves to Pipeline where the Billabong Pipe Masters – the final event of the Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour and last gem of the Vans Triple Crown – takes place from December 8 – 20. Morais now leads the Vans Triple Crown ratings after John John Florence was ousted in Round 4 by Gudauskas.