Jordy Smith rockets to No 3
Victoria - South Africa's Jordy Smith, 21, rocketed to No 3 on the 2009 ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) World Tour rankings thanks to a career best third place finish in the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Australia on Friday.
Smith was on fire throughout the event, posting the highest scores on Day 1 and advancing to the semi-finals before losing a close decision to eventual event winner and current ASP No 1 Joel Parkinson (AUS).
"This is the best result of my career so far,” Smith said. “I think it is equal with what I got at J-Bay as a wildcard (in 2007). I can’t complain. I’ll maybe have a little fun tonight, a little party and celebrate with the winner. It has been pretty much good waves all week so I have been stoked to be down here. Congratulations to Joel (Parkinson), he made the Final and he surfed really well. I think this year is his year, he is certainly a world title contender."
Smith, a former ASP World Junior Champion and ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) No. 1, is into his second season on the ASP World Tour. The powerful natural-footer eliminated 2007 ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 27, in the quarter-finals with scores of 9.17 and 6.33 for a 15.50 to 15.17 point victory.
As pristine two metre waves continued to pulse through the Bells Beach bowl, Smith and Parkinson both recorded short rides until Parkinson racked up the first significant score (7.83 out of 10), 12 minutes into the 35 minute encounter. Smith briefly held the lead twice as the heat wound down but Parko sealed his place in the final with an excellent 8.50 with five minutes remaining, leaving Smith needing 8.66 for victory when the siren sounded.
Parkinson, who overcame former ASP World Champion CJ Hobgood (USA) in the quarter-finals, took the lead in the final against wildcard trials winner and Bells Beach local Adam Robertson (AUS) with 21 minutes remaining. Parko then posted a near-perfect 9.57 point ride seven minutes later to put the Robertson into a combination situation requiring 17.41.
Today’s victory marks the second time Parkinson has hoisted the bell trophy (the first being in 2004), and the reputation and acclaim associated with the iconic event is something every surfer dreams of.
"Winning at home is probably the most special win you can have but this is the most special trophy you can have,” Parkinson said. “There is not another trophy in surfing that holds the prestige and honour list that this has. To be back on the trophy again and to hold it for a year is going to be amazing.”
Parkinson’s win today makes it two for two thus far on the 2009 ASP World Tour ratings, cementing the stylish natural-footer’s place atop the ratings in the hunt for the ASP World Title.
“I took confidence from home and now from here I’ll take more,” Parkinson said. “People can get caught up in the whole world title race, but I always said I wanted start the year with some results – I just never thought I would start this well. I’ve said since the Gold Coast that the World Title is a marathon, not a sprint. There are still eight events.”
Robertson’s effort at the 2009 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will go down in history, as the young natural-footer’s runner-up finish is the highest ever by a Victorian at the prestigious competition.
“I guess I just got on a roll in the heat against Bede (Durbidge) and the waves were really good and they suited me,” Robertson said. “I just had to roll with it and I am really happy with the result.”
Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), 27, secured an equal 3rd at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach with no-nonsense power surfing on his backhand before going down to Robertson in the semi-finals. Despite failing to see a Finals berth, Patacchia’s stellar start to 2009 has him sitting equal No. 3 with Smith on the ASP World Tour ratings.
"I am totally stoked with my start to the year,” Patacchia said. “Being a backhander out here is difficult, but I have been watching guys like Occ (Mark Occhilupo) and Tom Carroll all my life and it just takes time to figure it out. It is tricky. It is one of those waves you can surf your whole life and still have a shocker."
South Africans David Weare (Durban) and Greg Emslie (East London) placed 17th and 33rd respectively in the event. Rosanne Hodge (East London) ended 9th in the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach earlier in the week.
Highlights from Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Snickers will be available via www.live.ripcurl.com
The next stop on the 2009 ASP World Tour will be the Billabong Pro Teahupoo from May 9 – 20, 2009.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Final Results:
1 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.40
2 – Adam Robertson (AUS) 13.37
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Semi-final Results:
SF 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.33 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.24
SF 2: Adam Robertson (AUS) 13.87 def. Fred Patacchia (HAW) 12.73
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Quarter-final Results:
QF 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.17 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 8.66
QF 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.50 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.16
QF 3: Adam Robertson (AUS) 14.26 def. Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 12.33
QF 4: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 14.13 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 12.17
ASP World Tour Rankings (After event No. 2 – Bells Beach):
1. Joel Parkinson (AUS) - 2400
2. Mick Fanning (AUS) - 1608
3. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) - 1476
3. Jordy Smith (ZAF) - 1476
5. C.J. Hobgood (USA) - 1464
6. Adriano de Souza (BRA) - 1442
7. Taj Burrow (AUS) - 1286
3. Jordy Smith (ZAF) - 1476
24. David Weare (ZAF) - 820
29. Greg Emslie (ZAF) - 635
For more information on the South African contenders visit www.aspafrica.com