Jordy seeks strong ASP World Tour start
24 February 2012
South Africans Jordy Smith and Travis Logie have joined the world's best surfers on the Gold Coast of Australia for the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, the opening event on the 2012 ASP World Tour, which gets under way at the iconic point-break at Snapper Rocks on Saturday.
Smith, 24, is entering his fifth season among the world's best surfers and spent the off-season surfing in South Africa, including trips to Jeffreys Bay, to refine his equipment while maintaining his high-level of fitness.
"I had some really good waves at home and I've been going to J-Bay a lot to work on my boards for Snapper," Smith said in a statement. "If a board doesn't go good there, it's not going to work anywhere.
"It's such a good wave that you can stand up and feel every little bump in your boards. I've been testing fins as well, seeing which fins work with what boards.
"I think in my first couple of years I lost some heats because I wasn't that dialled in with my equipment, so I'm just working on eliminating that. I've also been staying fit with some training."
After warming up with a ninth place finish in the Australian Open of Surfing in Sydney on the weekend, Smith, the runner-up at both the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and in the ASP World Tour rankings in 2010, is looking forward to tearing into the high-performance right-hander of Snapper Rocks and is hungry to take out this year’s season opener.
"The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast is one of my favourite events," Smith said. "It's the first event of the year, there's no pressure, everyone's surfing hard and the waves are usually good. They've got a sick trophy too. I got second there once so I'm really going to try and win one."
Smith has established himself as a serious threat in the race for the ASP World Title and feels the veteran campaigners will return in their usually dangerous form, but thinks additional young talent will make this year's ASP World Title race an interesting one.
"I think the World Title race will always have the usual suspects, you can never count out Mick (Fanning) and Joel (Parkinson), and there's always Kelly (Slater)," Smith said, "but I think you're going to see some young guns in there too. I also think Julian (Wilson) is going to go pretty hard this year and give it a crack. He's been training super hard."
In 2011, Smith suffered a rib injury while competing in giant Teahupoo (Tahiti), which saw him miss the next two events and drop to seventh on the end of year ASP World Title Race rankings.
Almost back to 100 percent
"I'm feeling better than ever this year, a lot better than last year," Smith said. "My rib is almost back to 100 percent too. A month ago it was still hurting in the surf a little bit, but now it's feeling good."
Logie qualified for another year amongst the world’s elite competitors after a tenacious 2011 campaign that included the 32-year-old Durbanite recording his career best result with a third place at Teahupoo.
He ended the year ranked No. 30 and will be going all-out to improve his best finish in the season opening event at Snapper Rocks where he placed ninth in both 2006 and 2007.
Defending event champion and 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater, who recently turned 40, was typically coy on whether he would compete for a full year on tour in 2012, but reiterated how important a good result at the Quiksilver Pro was for getting on a roll for the rest of the year, particularly against a highly talented bunch of rookies.
"The question (on retiring) comes up each year and each year I don't know," Slater said. "Part of me wants to do other stuff, but sometimes the tour is fun. I'm just not too stressed about it.
"There'll always be younger guys setting a new direction and there'll always be change and advancement, which I think is great. But no-one would deny how good the new group coming through is."
While the tour veterans like 2011 runner-up Joel Parkinson, fellow Australians Taj Burrow and two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning, all of whom are previous Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast winners, will pose their customary challenge, the new guard of Owen Wright, Michel Bourez, 2011 ASP Rookie of the Year Julian Wilson and the phenomenal Gabriel Medina, who won two of the six events he contested last year, will be keen to start their 2012 campaign's with a victory in the opening event.
The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast will hold a waiting period from 25 February through to 7 March and will be webcast live on Quiksilver PRo Gold Coast 2012.
Running in conjunction with the men's event will be the Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover, the opening event in the ASP Women's World Title season.
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