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Thursday, February 5, 2009
Updated: June 15, 1:59 PM ET
Sharpening The Spear

Jordy claims these days that he's just "cruising" and surfing about "80%". Heaven help the world tour when he gets up to full speed.
Just after the start of the new year I bumped into Jordy Smith down at Trestles. "It's my first day back in the water," he told me. I wasn't so much struck by the fact that there was a surf star in my local waters, that kind of happens a lot around here, I was more impressed by the fact that Jordy was actually in the water at all. You see, this winter he "got compressed" during the final at Sunset, and word was his knee was devastated. But after two months of intense therapy and a few visits to his local hyperbaric chamber, Jordy's nearly good as new. He might tell you he's even better. I caught up with a couple weeks after our run in at Lowers to see how he was feeling and what '09 holds in store:

Before we get into anything else, can you explain what happened at Sunset?
The winter was going all good up until that final. I'd been training for awhile, and the knee was kind of bothering me a little bit, but I never really tended to it. Then I was in the final at Sunset, you know, I'd felt good all contest, but then on my very first wave in the final I was doing a really sharp kind of bottom turn, pushing up towards the lip when my foot slipped. I did the splits and my knee slammed the deck really hard. This kind of thing has happened a couple times before, but always on a shortboard. I think because the board I was riding was that much bigger the impact was greater and there was nowhere really for my leg to go but get compressed. It popped, and when it did I went, 'shit, here we go.' But I tried to paddle back out. I ended up breaking my board after I caught one more wave. I just wanted to try to go top to bottom on it, but I could barely even stand up. It just sucks to have something like that happen at a place like Sunset, especially when you're in contention to win the contest.

How's the recovery going?
It's been good. Yes, I've been going to a hyperbaric chamber, but I've also been doing all kinds of stuff. This is probably the most fit I've ever been. It kind of worked out well. The knee's probably around 80% at the moment, but hopefully by the time Snapper starts it'll be good to go.

These shots were taken up in the Ventura area earlier in January, while Jordy was working on his boards and "rehabbing."
And you've been surfing on it?
Yeah, a little bit. Just keeping it easy on the knee, not going too big or too hard, but still making sure I'll be ready.

Besides the knee, what are a couple other things you've been working on or focusing on for the start of your second year on tour?
Definitely my equipment. I've been working on my equipment a lot and it's going to be way different than last year. I have that much more experience, which will allow me to be that much more prepared. Last year I was riding a bunch of the same type of boards, but it would be a brand new one every surf, every heat. And that's not the way to do things. You need time to get used to the board, feel it out, get comfortable on it. Then, unless you break it, you ride that board the whole event. That's more of my approach for this year. I was getting good boards last year, but wasn't spending the time on them that I needed to.

And your pops is a shaper, does that help iron out the kinks a bit?
Yeah, we talk a lot about it. I've also been working with Al [Merrick] and JS.

Yesterday when we talked you were up at O'Neill designing your new boardshorts, and you've also got your signature slaps from DVS, does it ever trip you out to have all your own gear?
It's definitely cool. To have a hand in designing your own stuff, it's kind of one of those things you dream about as a kid coming up Obviously there's the barrier of what's going to sell on the rack, but you give and take and in the end I'm stoked how it's all coming out. You come up with some ideas for a boardshort, and then they do it. I don't know how to explain it, it's just cool. Same with the sandal, that was like a dream come true. I signed with DVS and they made me the perfect sandal.

Mick Fanning has a bottle opener in his sandal, what do you have?
We should put something like a USB plug in you, then you can plug your sandal into your computer and see how far you've gone. Maybe have Wi-Fi in your sandal? That'd be a good one.

And what about next year, got any goals?
I've got some goals. I don't really like to talk about them until they're done, but yeah, I've got goals. I write them down on a piece of paper, fold it up, and then when it's done I might tell somebody. Hopefully I won't be in the position that I was last year just scratching to re-qualify.