Jeffreys Bay, South Africa, July 24th, 2011 – Team O’Neill surfing sensation Jordy Smith, has taken one step closer to making his 2011 world title dreams a reality by winning the Billabong Pro, an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour event held at Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. The result earned the twenty-three year old $75,000 in prize money, and boosted Smith from fifth to second on the ASP World Tour rankings, leaving him within striking distance of current ratings leader, Joel Parkinson (Australia).
With the world’s best surfers descending on Jeffreys Bay to contest one of international surfing’s most prestigious titles, Smith was touted as a favorite to defend his 2010 title, but faced several difficult heats on his way to victory. Smith opened his campaign by defeating wildcard Sean Holmes and Adam Melling in round one, and then dispatched close friend and fellow Durbanite, Travis Logie, in round three. From there, Smith eliminated 2010 semi-finalist Bede Durbidge, Florida’s Damien Hobgood, and Australian Adrian Buchan as he charged through to the final where he faced two-time World Champion Mick Fanning.
Despite world-class surfing conditions at Jeffreys Bay for the fourth and fifth rounds, the final day delivered tricky conditions, courtesy of a strong onshore wind. The final started with a bang, both Fanning and Smith found quality rides within the first few minutes. Fanning was awarded an 8.0, but the Australian’s lead was short lived as Smith quickly answered with an 8.6. Fanning was patient to counter, sitting for over 17 minutes before catching his next wave to post a 6.83. Once again, Fanning’s score was to be outdone and Smith grabbed the lead for good with a 7.0 score for his second counting.
With the blast of the hooter, the final concluded and an elated Smith stood on his board with his hands in the air, acknowledging his native fans that braved the rain and cold. Emerging from the water, Smith was carried up the beach on the shoulders of a throng of his friends.
Mick (Fanning) has surfed amazing all week,” Smith said. He’s always an inspiration and he’s right there with everyone in the hunt for the title. Today’s a huge win for me. Last year, it was very emotional. To back it up this year just feels really, really good. It’s huge for my confidence and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.”
“I’d like to congratulate Jordy on behalf of everyone at O’Neill,” said O’Neill South Africa Sales and Marketing Manager, Paul Canning. “Throughout the event, Jordy showed the sort of commitment and determination that has made him one of the world’s best surfers and we’re very proud of his performance this week.”
To further highlight Smith’s domination of the 2011 Billabong Pro, he also walked away with the Nixon Winner Takes All $10,000 watch for achieving the contest’s highest heat score, an impressive 18.30 out of a possible 20 in his round 5 tussle with Bede Durbidge.
For more information on O’Neill athletes, events and apparel, please visit www.oneill.com
O’Neill, the original California surf, snow and youth lifestyle brand, was founded in 1952 when a young man named Jack O’Neill took his unstoppable passion for surfing and used it to beat Mother Nature at her own game. Pioneering the world’s first neoprene wetsuit, Jack had successfully found a way to extend his surf sessions in the bone-chilling breaks of Northern California. He opened up the garage doors to his first surf shop in Santa Cruz soon after.
While many things have changed since those humble beginnings, Jack’s initial vision of producing functional and innovative boardriding products continues to lie at the core of everything the company does. O’Neill’s core values – innovation in style and technology – have seen the brand devote itself wholeheartedly to the evolution of the action sports lifestyle. From the first ever neoprene wetsuit and surf leash, to the world’s first stitchless boardshorts and range of groundbreaking wearable electronics, O’Neill’s progressive spirit will always drive the company forward. For more information, please visit www.oneill.com.