Jordy Smith won the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach to claim his first victory in Hawaiian waves on Sunday.
The 28-year-old Durbanite triumphed in a stacked final that included Frederico Morais (PRT), Torrey Meister (HAW) and Tanner Gudauskas (USA).
“Unbelievable, can’t believe it,” said Smith. “I feel like this event has eluded me in the past. I didn’t have any expectations coming in this year, I think that was the difference.
I just kind of went out there with an open mind. Thanks to everyone who supported me.”
The final Qualifying Series (QS) of the year and one of only five 10,000 rated events in 2016, 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 despite reaching the final at Sunset twice in the past, 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,” continued Smith.
“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.”
Smith, who was crowned the Triple Crown ‘Rookie of the Year’ in back in 2009, says he has been ‘camping out’ at Pipeline this year in a determined effort to improve on his mediocre previous results in the season-ending CT event.
He is bidding to become the first South African man to clinch the Triple Crown, an accolade second only to a World Title in prestige. Heather Clark (Port Shepstone) is the only previous SA winner, clinching the Women’s Triple Crown title in 2000.
Michael February (Cape Town), the only other South African in the Vans World Cup, posted his first heat win at Sunset Beach last Wednesday.
The lanky Capetonian advanced to Round 3 after taking the runner-up spot in his next heat and finished 33rd overall. He earned 1,100 points, his second best haul of the season, to end the year ranked No. 53 and guaranteed of a slot in all the major 6,000 and 10,000 rated QS events next year.
The eyes of the surfing world will now be firmly fixed on Pipeline, a mile to the West of Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu, where the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons – the final event of the Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour and last gem of the Vans Triple Crown – takes place from December 8 – 20.
1st – Jordy Smith (ZAF), 10000 points
2nd – Frederico Morais (PRT), 8000 points
3rd – Torrey Meister (HAW), 6700 points
4th – Tanner Gudauskas (USA), 6300 points