Jordy Smith (ZAF) is heading home to South Africa for upcoming competitions, starting with the Mr Price Pro Ballito. Set in the KwaZulu-Natal province on the country's Eastern coast, the contest is a Prime event in the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Men's Qualifying Series (QS), and is slated to run from June 30 to July 6, 2014.
For Smith, the Mr Price Pro will serve as solid preparation for the J-Bay Open, the next stop on the ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), which runs from July 10 to 21, 2014. Marking the crucial halfway mark on both the QS and the WCT, the world's best surfers will flock to South Africa for the back-to-back contests.
Earning a total of nine heat wins on the WCT so far this season, Smith, currently ranked 11th in the world, has had mixed results.
"I find surfing Prime [events] a great opportunity to fine-tune my surfing, especially in the lead-up to a World Tour event," said Smith. "It's sometimes easier to stay focused when you surf every day. Too many lay days in a row can be the biggest distraction."
With a second place finish behind Julian Wilson (AUS) in one of the most exciting finals in Mr Price Pro history last year, the competitive beast in Smith will settle for nothing less than one better in 2014.
One of the more dominant ASP athletes over the past five years, Smith thrives on performing in front of a home crowd. He clinched victory at the Mr Price Pro Ballito in 2010, followed by a runner-up finish in 2013, and scored back-to-back victories at Jeffreys Bay in 2010 and 2011.
"There is always something special about competing at home," Smith said. "It's mainly being familiar with the waves and having the support of family and friends."
A standout performer in everything from the dredging barrels to punchy beachbreak ramps, the local surfer is looking forward to what the event will serve up this year.
"When it's on, it's a world-class wave. You can get backdoor-like barrels [a Hawaiian break] then as it drops it becomes really high performance, especially with the wind blowing into the rights.
"I'm really looking forward to trying to bring the trophy back to South Africa. I love nothing more than winning in front of the home crowd, and winning in Ballito would be the ultimate preparation for J-Bay. I want to win three in a row!"
Fans can tune into the Mr. Price Pro starting June 30 at aspworldtour.com.