CAPE TOWN, January 29 – Red Bull surfer Jordy Smith showed Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok captain, Siya Kolisi just what it is going to take to win a medal at the 20202 Tokyo Olympics.
The two recently went surfing at Blouberg recently to share their thoughts on competing at the highest levels of their sport.
Kolisi was riding a custom surfboard shaped by Smith’s father Graham and despite the unruly, choppy conditions caused by an onshore wind (blowing from land to the sea) and big swell, he took to the new challenge with gusto.
“It was amazing,” Kolisi said afterwards. “We’re both professional sportsmen and love what we do,” he said.
Smith first gave Kolisi some pointers on the beach, teaching him about the ‘pop-up’ that near-magical movement where surfers go from prone to standing in an instant. Then he took him out into the waves.
“What I loved about him is he didn’t push me out there,” Kolisi added. “He just worked on getting to get me comfortable, which is amazing.”
“There were a few hairy moments,” said Smith, who finished third overall on the Jeep Leaderboard of the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) rankings. “But, he just put his Springbok Captain’s hat on and told us all to calm down. I was very proud of him. What a legend.”
At 31-years-old, Smith is a two-time world title runner-up (201 and 2016) with three more Top 5 finishes in 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2019 he also earned a place to compete in Tokyo, becoming the first South African surfer to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
While the surfing was what brought them together, the talk on the day was about the Olympics and things off the field too.
“It was pretty cool – we were talking about all the differences, but also all the similarities in our sports… What motivates us and keeps us going. And I think it’s similar for every single sportsman, it’s a lot of the same stuff motivates us,” Kolisi said. After leading the South African national team to a historic victory in Yokohama, in November, the 28-year-old is now back on franchise duty captaining the Stormers in Super Rugby.
“I never dreamt when I was a kid that I would be spending time with people like Jordy. I’m excited to see how he’s going to do in Japan,” he said.
I’m going to get behind him and get the rest of South Africa to get behind him because I think he deserves it.”
Surfing will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2020 with the surfing scheduled to start in July 2020.