Jordy Smith is the South African Surfer of the Year

July 5, 2010 | Surfing
Jordy Smith: he rules South Africa | Photo: Zigzag Magazine

The 2010 South African Surfing Awards, presented by Zigzag and Surfing South Africa in association with Paarl Media and Carling Black Label, saw a number of South Africa’s top surfers and pioneers recognized for their achievement or contributions to South Africa’s surf landscape last night (Sunday 4th July).

Jordan Michael Smith, better known as Jordy to everyone in the water, was crowned SA surfer of the Year to a rapturous applause from the crowd at the annual event, solidifying his growing reputation as one of the world’s most exciting surfers, as well as South Africa’s reputation as one of the leaders in world surfing.

In a short space of time, Jordy has gone from dominating the junior ranks to being a world-beater, leaping up to 11h place on the 2009 year-end ASP ratings.

The tall Durban natural footer is currently holding down the number two slot. With nine times world champion Kelly Slater (current number one) and Australian Taj Burrow (current number three), the trio hold a comfortable lead over the rest of the pack.

But it’s not only Jordy’s charge for the title that cracked him the prestigious nod. His groundbreaking freesurfing performances over the past year are testament to his freakish ability and he has been widely claimed as some of the most innovative surfing ever.

Recipients of other major awards on the evening were Cape Town big wave rider Chris Bertish, whose underdog performance in the Mavericks contest certainly helped sway the decision to give him the ‘Pushing the Boundaries’ title.

Bertish has risen to the top of the big wave pack over the last few years and has become a key player in the SA big wave movement. At the Mavericks event, the modest South African walked away with gold in conditions called by many as ‘the biggest surf ever for a contest’.

Along with the likes of Grant Baker (Durban), Bertish has been instrumental in putting South Africa’s name on top. The ‘Pushing the Boundaries’ award is by no means limited to big wave accomplishments, but it was once again a big wave surfer who raised his hand for the award this year.

Three more South African legends were also inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame, namely Peers Pittard, Christine Petrucci (1942-2009), and Hugh Roe. Classic archive photos of Peers, Christine, and Hugh accompanied the legends as they were honored. Christine’s award was accepted on her behalf by her son and daughter.

The Surf Photographer of the Year award was deservedly won by Greg Ewing (Durban), whose continued hard work and dedication to the art has helped him emerge as the country’s leading surf photographer over the past 12 months. The award was decided by a public vote and a prestigious panel that included Surfer Magazine photo editor Grant Ellis, Surfing Magazine photo editor Peter Taras, and legendary SA lensman Chris van Lennep.

The Blowing Up Performer Award, awarded to the country’s most exciting up and coming junior surfer under the age of 20, was presented to Beyrick de Vries (Umhlanga) who has wreaked havoc on the local contest scene, stepped it up overseas with an impressive ASP WQS campaign beyond his years, captained the SA team, and set the benchmark with his freesurfing.

Cecil Solomon (Cape Town) was given the Agent of Change award. The award goes to an individual, group or body who embodies this spirit of transformation, spreading the stoke of surfing among all communities and at all levels.

Cecil has done exactly that for more than 20 years, as the founder of the country’s first non-racial surf club, and growing through the ranks of the unified sporting body to become president of Surfing South Africa. His energy has remained focused on grassroots level surfing, and he has achieved it all with a humble approach and nothing but the love the surfing as his reward.

Thanks to a generous sponsorship by Carling Black Label, Brandon Jackson and Steven Price were able to walk away with 6 and 12-month supplies of the product for the best 80’s getout and most ridiculous 80’s kit respectively.

Both ASP Africa and Surfing South Africa were integral to the South African Surfing Awards again this year, and South Africa’s top surfers on the domestic circuits were honored on the evening. The floating trophies for ASP Africa went to Royden Bryson from Cape Town (Men’s Division), Chad du Toit from Durban (Pro Junior Men), and Sarah Baum from Durban (Pro Junior Women).

The Surfing South Africa Pro Surf Tour winners were Bianca Buitendag from George (Pro Junior Girls), Chris Leppan from Umhlanga Rocks (Pro Junior Boys), Chantal Rautenbach from Melkbos Strand (Women), and Warner Beach powerhouse Gary van Wieringen in the Men’s. All the tour winners, along with the recipients of the various other awards, were presented with giant canvases of themselves surfing to commemorate the evening.

South African surfers who qualified for the World Tour include Nikita Robb (East London), Rosy Hodge (East London), Travis Logie (Durban) and Jordy Smith (Durban).