- WSL / Pierre Tostee

It's been 7 long months since Jordy Smith last competed on the Championship Tour. The South African opted to get surgery to sort out a niggling knee injury that kept him out of the water for the rest of the tour.

A few months ago, he surfed in a national longboard competition just to scratch that competitive itch and test out the progress of his recovery. Now, he's back in the singlet at the Ballito Pro presented by O'Neill .

Ballito is just a short drive away from where Jordy grew up in Durban, and he's always made an effort to compete in the event which he has won twice.

BALLITO, KWAZULU-NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 17: Jordy Smith of South Africa surfing in Heat 1 of the Round of 32 at the Ballito Pro Presented by O'Neill on December 17, 2021 in Ballito, South Africa. (Photo by Pierre Tostee/World Surf League). Jordy Smith - WSL / Pierre Tostee

You wouldn't guess he was out of the water for months. In his first heat back, Smith looked confident and relaxed. Sitting deep, Smith caught a great wave to bash out three strong turns, clean and fast, for a solid 7.33 and somehow making the unruly conditions look fun.

"It feels really good to put the singlet back on, but conditions are tough. It's high tide, the wind is howling, a couple of rain squalls. It's the same for everyone out there, you just got to find the gems and get the job done," said Smith after his heat.

"It's such good experience for these youngsters. That's what I did when I was young, just try and compete as much as you can and get that experience."

BALLITO, KWAZULU-NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 17: Jordy Smith of South Africa surfing in Heat 1 of the Round of 32 at the Ballito Pro Presented by O'Neill on December 17, 2021 in Ballito, South Africa. (Photo by Pierre Tostee/World Surf League). Jordy Smith - WSL / Pierre Tostee

Jordy will be back in the first heat in the Round of 16, watch it LIVE right here on WorldSurfLeague, the WSL app and YouTube!

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