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Smith wins Hurley Pro in California to move up rankings
- Updated: September 19, 2014
South Africa’s Jordy Smith has claimed a last-minute victory over Hawaii’s John John Florence at the Hurley Pro at Trestles in San Clemente, California, to put a season of close calls behind him and move up to No11 on the WCT rankings.
Smith, 27, recently relocated to San Clemente and his local knowledge proved crucial in the powerful but wind-affected and unruly 1.2-2 metre surf for the Final. With wave selection vital, Smith opened his account with a heat high score of 9.33 but had to wait until the dying moments of the 35 minute encounter before posting a 7.27 to snatch victory from Florence.
The Hurley Pro, stop No8 of 11 on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), was the first Final of the year for both surfers and marked the fourth win of Smith’s career after claiming titles at the 2010 and 2011 Billabong Pro J-Bay events and at the 2013 Billabong Pro Rio.
Smith’s road to the Final saw him post an excellent Round 1 win to advance directly to Round 3 where he was visibly elated after snapping a four-heat losing streak by grinding out a low-scoring win over Australia’s Julian Wilson. Slipping to third in his Round 4 encounter, Smith went on to post a narrow win over Michel Bourez of Tahiti to reach the quarter-finals where he defeated reigning three-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning of Australia before surviving a nail-biting semi-final clash with yet another Aussie, Adrian Buchan.
“I feel unbelievable,” said Jordy Smith. “To be able to surf against the best surfer in the world at the moment is incredible. I started the heat really well but right toward to the end I started to think about everyone that’s been supporting me and it helped me nail that last wave. I knew I had to do something good. I’m over the moon, it’s a dream of mine to win Trestles, especially after moving here.”
Twenty-one-year-old Florence posted the highest two-wave heat total and single-wave score of the competition en-route to the Final. He now sits at No8 on the ASP WCT Rankings after defeating Braziian Adriano De Souza in the quarter-finals and 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater of the US in the semi-final.
“I was hoping that Jordy’s wave wasn’t going to be enough but he got it,” said Florence. “It was really hard to surf out there and good job to Jordy, he’s been surfing good all week. I’m so bummed, I hate coming that close to winning, but it’s given me some confidence going in to the next event.”
South Africa’s Travis Logie finished equal 25th overall in the Hurley Pro after losing to Trestles local Kolohe Andino of the US in Round Two.
The Swatch Women’s Pro Final was an all-Australian rematch of this year’s Fiji Women’s Pro, this time decisively clinched by five-time ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore, 26, who defeated compatriot Sally Fitzgibbons..
Fitzgibbons was blistering through the final day of the Swatch Women’s Pro, disposing of South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag and France’s Johanne Defay successively on route to the Final.
Picture of Smith: ASP/Rowland