It was a huge day down at the famous Bells Bowl, and from dawn until dusk the world’s best surfers paddled out, heat after heat, into absolutely pumping six-to-eight foot surf.
Jordy’s win comes after years of hard work at this break, and his relationship with the wave hasn’t always been easy. Over the last few years, he’s placed third two times, and just last year, he came runner-up to Matt Wilkinson in a toe-to-toe final. Needless to say, the victory was a long time coming, and it felt great.
“I can’t even believe it -- second last year and now this -- it’s amazing,” Jordy said. “I was stoked to have made it into Round 4 and then every heat after that was a bonus. I tried to take it easy and not take things too seriously, as you may have been able to tell from some of my claims in the Final. This is an absolute dream come true. I’ve been working on winning this event for 10 years now and to get it today is incredible."
Jordy took the lead over Brazil’s Caio Ibelli in the final round of the event, posting a 9.77 and a 9.13 – a combined heat total of a whopping 18.90. But it wasn’t an easy battle, with Caio posting score after score on set waves rolling through the bowl. By the time the final buzzer went off, he had posted a 9.63 and a 7.83.
“I wasn’t sure how many opportunities I was going to get with the high tide so I just took every wave I could. Once I got the nine, a bit of the pressure dropped and then sure enough Caio kept coming. He is an amazing surfer and has been so on point this event. After a few years of injury and re-building, I feel like the pieces of the puzzle are coming together this year. My family and wife are right behind me and I couldn’t do it without their support.”
The two competitors are good friends, and once they were out of the water, it was all about congratulating one another.
“This trophy is going to look really nice in my house,” Caio said. “This has been the best Easter I have ever had. I’m so stoked. The waves and the support at Bells is so amazing. It’s really special. To be in the final with Jordy Smith, someone I’ve always looked up to, at a perfect wave like Bells is a dream come true for me.”
It was a long road to standing on the podium this event, and it took a lot of hard work and tenacity, especially with the size and quality of surf on finals day. Caio had to defeat reigning World Champion John John Florence, and Jordy had to push through the Hawaiian powerhouse, Ezekiel Lau – no easy feats.
Jordy finally got to ring his Bell, and although it may have chipped his tooth in the process (he may have swung the metal into his mouth as he rang it for that first, glorious time), it was the sweetest victory of his life.
Another amazing year at the longest running surf competition in the world, on its 56th spin around the globe. Congratulations Jordy Smith! This one was a long time coming, and it’s great to finally have your name on the iconic Bell.