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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Durban's Jordy up to No 4 on rankings after victory in California

Jordy Smith carves off the top on his way to victory in the Hurley Pro in California 

    on Wednesday  Photo: WSL / Rowland

SAN CLEMENTE, California, USA (Wednesday, September 14, 2016) – South Africa’s Jordy Smith claimed victory at the Hurley Pro in California on Wednesday, defeating 2012 World Champion Joel Parkinson in the final of Stop No 8 of 11 on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) in 1 – 1.3 metre waves at the high performance cobblestone break of Lower Trestles.

The win was Smith’s fifth on the Championship Tour, his second at Lower Trestles and his best result of 2016 season, earning the 28 year-old from Durban US $100,000 (R1.4 million) and 10,000 points which lifted him to No. 4 on the Jeep Leaderboard and firmly into the World Title race with three events remaining on the schedule.

“I’ve had a really good surfboard under my feet this event,” Smith said. “I came into the event with an open mind. I missed it last year (through injury) when the waves were firing so I just wanted to come in and take it heat-by-heat. I’ve watched Joel [Parkinson] throughout my career and he’s one of my favourite surfers. I’m frothing and I’m over the moon.”
Smith’s tactics of staying in the inside position at the start paid off and he established a strong lead with a 6.0 and an excellent 8.17 early in the final as the two former event winners went head-to-head. But Parkinson responded with a 6.93 and a critical 8.43, the highest scoring ride of the clash, before Smith added a 7.63 to his tally. Without priority and three minutes on the clock, the Australian needed a 7.27 to take the win, but was not able to land the requirement.

“If I can be in with a shot at the World Title this year then that will be great,” continued Smith. “The European events can go either way so I’m just going to try my hardest and see how it goes. I think my Round 4 match-up against Kelly [Slater] and Michel Bourez was the toughest here, and of course that semi-final against Filipe (Toledo) was a big heat too.”

This event marks Parkinson’s best result of the year and his first finals appearance since the 2014 J-Bay Open where he also earned a runner-up finish. The 2004 Lowers Champion found his form once again, overcoming in-form local wildcard Tanner Gudauskas (USA) in a nail-biting semi-final duel to earn a place in the final against Smith. Parkinson moves up eight places to sixth on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“I really fell in love with this wave and this town in 2004,” Parkinson said. “This year was another wonderful year at Trestles and I’m really happy to be back here and on the podium -- it feels really good. This event I was so motivated and really keen to notch up a win. The talent of surfing in this event is incredible and I have to give it to Jordy, he’s an amazing surfer and a top World Title contender.”

The next CT event for men is the Quiksilver Pro France from 4 – 15 October.

Men’s Hurley Pro Final Results:
1 - Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.80
2 - Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.36

Men’s Hurley Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.23 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.50
SF 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.43 def. Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 14.33

2016 WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 5 (After Hurley Pro)
1. John John Florence (HAW) 41,650 points
2. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 37,450
3. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 36,500
4. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 35,200
5. Kelly Slater (USA) 29,650

source: WSL & Paul Botha

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