South Africa’s Jordy Smith has ended No. 2 on the 2016 Jeep Rankings after reaching the quarter-finals of the Billabong Pipe Masters, the final stop on the Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour (CT) at Pipeline in Hawaii.
Smith’s fifth place finish in the event earned the Durbanite 5,200 points, sufficient to overtake 2014 WSL champion Gabriel Medina (BRA), but still well short of John John Florence (HAW) who clinched his maiden world title at the penultimate event of the season in Portugal in October.
Smith, who was granted a wildcard into the 2016 CT season after an injury-wracked 2015, won the event at Trestles in California, finished runner-up at Bells Beach, third in Portugal and fifth at Jeffreys Bay and Pipeline to match his previous best year end result of runner-up to Kelly Slater (USA) in 2010.
The first event victory of his career in Hawaii at the QS 10,000 rated World Cup at Sunset Beach two weeks ago, combined with a 25th place in the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa and fifth at Pipeline also earned Smith the runner-up spot behind Florence in the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing rankings.
“All around it has been an amazing year for me. This time last year I did not expect to be here as I’d just came fresh off an injury. To finish the year in second is amazing,” said Smith.
The world’s best surfers will return in 2017 with the kick-off event on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia in March.
Top 5 on the 2016 WSL Jeep Leaderboard:
1. John John Florence (HAW) 59,850 pts
2. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 46,400 pts
3. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 45,450 pts
4. Kolohe Andino (USA) 44,150 pts
5. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 39,500 pts