2020 is a big year for Jordy Smith. When the Championship Tour season kicks off with the Corona Open Gold Coast on March 26th, the 32-year-old will be hitting the sand ranked 3rd on the Jeep Leaderboard with not only World Title aspirations, but Olympic dreams as well.
After 12 years on Tour and a handful of World Title near-misses, one might assume that his chances of hoisting the trophy are dimming, but not so fast. Last year, Smith stayed hot in the Title race all the way up until the Billabong Pipe Masters. And along the way he qualified to represent his home country of South Africa at the Tokyo 2020 Games, where surfing will make its Olympic debut.
So, what's he been doing this offseason to get himself prepared for such a big year ahead? Well, the freesurf footage he just dropped from a recent session in Cape Town offers a pretty good glimpse. The South African powerhouse is looking as sharp as ever.
Breaking down the session, Smith can be seen pulling into offshore barrel after offshore barrel, getting spit out and hucking a Modern Collective-esque full rotation. This is loose, confident, classic freesurf Jordy. When he's relaxed, he can fly with the likes of World Champ Italo Ferreira, who clocks in nearly 50-pounds lighter and seven years younger.
So how does he keep it up? One thing Jordy's been very open about is his flexibility training. He trains with Kid Peligro on the North Shore, a jiu-jitsu black belt and practitioner of Ginastica Natural -- a blend of martial arts, choreographed movements and stretching. Peligro calls smith the "lion."
Jiu-jitsu's become one of the de facto training regimens for surfers in recent years with World Champs Kelly Slater and John John Florence both applying Peligro's methods. And it's clearly working for Smith too.
"For me, being loose and limber, it's at least 20 to 30 percent more beneficial to me, just because of my size," Smith remarked in the 2019 documentary ‘All In'. "For some other people it could be the strength thing. But for me, it's flexibility. I've already got so much power."
As far as how Smith gets out of the gates at the start of every season, he's stacked up some impressive career numbers on the Gold Coast, highlighted by 2nd and 3rd place finishes. And if he can go all the way, a win on the Gold Coast has a historic precedent for helping surfers go on to clinch a World Title. Just last year Ferreira rode the momentum all the way to his first Title.
If Smith shows up at Snapper looking as fresh as he just did in Cape Town, 2020 could be his year for that elusive Title … and possibly an Olympic medal for South Africa.