Jordy Smith achieved a career-best performance at Snapper Rocks in Australia, narrowly missing out on the title in the ASP season-opening Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.
The 22-year-old’s excellent tournament continued after he dispatched nine-time world champion and surfing legend Kelly Slater in round four; he then defeated Bede Durbidge in the Quarterfinal before taking out Dane Reynolds in the Semi.
The South African then led throughout the opening exchanges of the 40-minute Final against Taj Burrow in rippable three-foot waves before conditions worsened and Burrow eventually prevailed, scoring 15.57 to Smith’s 12.26.
Smith was delighted to have reached his first final on the ASP World Tour and can't wait for the next event, which is the Rip Curl Pro in Bell's Beach, Victoria at the end of the month.
"It's my first final so I'm pretty stoked," he said. "It's unfortunate that the waves went kind of dead in our heat there, but we tried our best. It's been a great event though and I'm looking forward to the next one."
"It's my first final so I'm pretty stoked." –Jordy Smith
Smith has long been touted as a potential ASP World Title contender, but he had yet to realize his potential in competition. If the Quiksilver Pro is anything to go by, the powerful natural-footer will be a big threat to the established stars in 2010.
"I just feel a lot more comfortable with myself this season," Smith added. "I'm having a lot more fun with my surfing and everything seems to be coming together for me. I'm amped with a runner-up finish here and hope I can keep the momentum up for the rest of the season."
Smith was defeated in the Final by a surfer on hot form right now – Burrow has now won each of the last three events he’s competed in (Pipeline in December and Burleigh Heads in February being the other two) and he was ecstatic with his latest success.
"I'm so so happy right now - it's the best feeling on Earth!" Burrow said. "It's unreal. I have a good group of friends with me and my parents are here supporting me. To have everyone cheering me on in the final is really, really special."
Meanwhile in the Roxy Pro event, both Sofia Mulanovich and Sally Fitzgibbons reached the Quarterfinal stage, where they lost out to Melanie Bartels and Coco Ho, respectively.
The Semifinal at Snapper Rocks take place today, with reigning world champion Stephanie Gilmore taking on Ho, while Bartels faces Chelsea Hedges for a place in the Final.
ASP World Tour overall standings (after Quiksilver Pro)
1) Taj Burrow (Australia) 10000 pts
2) Jordy Smith (South Africa) 8000 pts
3) Bobby Martinez (United States) 6500 pts
3) Dane Reynolds (United States) 6500 pts
5) Joel Parkinson (Australia) 5250 pts
5) Bede Durbidge (Australia) 5250 pts
5) Adriano de Souza (Brazil) 5250 pts
5) Kai Otton (Australia) 5250 pts
To find out more about Jordy, Sofia, and Sally, go to Red Bull Surfing and for information on the men's and women's world championship visit ASP World Tour.