- O'Neill / Brent Bielmann

Jordy Smith looked like he was going to get on a roll in 2021. He secured a second-place finish at Margaret River, and was doing some of the best surfing we'd seen from the South African, yet.

But an injury suffered while surfing all-time Durban -- where Jordy grew up and learned to surf -- cruelled what could have been a great year. He had to bow out of the remainder of the Championship Tour season, and missed out on competing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Smith has been putting in the hard yards with rehabilitation, trying to get his body ready to return to the Championship Tour. That rehab even included competing in a longboard event at J-Bay, but now, Smith seems ready to burst back onto the scene in a big way.

This footage is clear evidence that if he's healthy this winter, Smith could be a force to reckon with at Pipe in January. Plus, the man has spent enough time on the North Shore over the years to know that early season offers an abundance of opportunities to get back in the groove. From Sunset, to Rocky Point, to Pipe, Backdoor and Off The Wall, the versatility of Smith will be on full display as the North Pacific starts to wake back up.

Then there's some Instagram footage from a recent session at South Africa's flagship wave, J-Bay, which makes it hard to believe he was ever forced to sit out Championship Tour events or surfing's Olympic debut. His style was always perfectly suited to J-Bay's long walls, but this is a reminder that the Tour veteran is still getting better each year, with big things in store come 2022.

What else is hard to believe is that he's been chasing a Title on the Championship Tour since 2008, but his surfing has remained at the cutting edge. That's what was so hard about the injury -- the surfing he was doing at Margaret River earlier this year showed that when he's on, Smith is one of the hardest to beat. In fact, it was only Filipe Toledo finding an entirely new gear with some of the biggest turns he'd ever done which stopped Smith taking the win.

Despite missing out on the back end of the season, Smith still finished in 7th on the WSL Leaderboard, giving him a good seeding for 2022. Knowing he's got so much more to prove, and with the frustration of the injury which temporarily sidelined him fueling his already insatiable competitive drive, there are big things in store when the Tour kicks off in Hawaii in January 2022.

Jordy Smith North Shore When the 2022 Championship Tour kicks off at Pipeline in Jordy Smith contends that he'll be ready. - O'Neill / Brent Bielmann
World Surf League
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