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SA’s surfing sweetheart Jordy Smith is no stranger to “sharky” waters in what he says is one of the world’s most extreme sports.

The World Surf League’s (WSL) J-Bay Open championship returns to Jeffreys Bay for the first time since 2019. The great white shark is common in Jeffreys Bay’s sharky waters, but few attacks result in death.

When Australian professional surfer Mick Fanning last competed in the J-Bay Open he had an encounter with a great white. Shortly after that Fanning encountered another shark while competing in Australia.

“Competing here in Jeffreys Bay or in the ocean in general, there are risk factors. Obviously sharks, marine life, things like that ... SA just has a little bit more. Maybe that’s why it’s one of the most extreme sports in the world,” Smith said.

“Maybe we should throw some lions onto the cricket pitch or rugby field and see how they fare with that.” 

At a media conference on Monday Smith spoke about recently becoming a father: “It’s different and at the same time amazing. You chose your surfs wisely, right between nap times.”

SA surfer Joshe Faulkner at the press conference on July 11 for the J-Bay Open. Picture: WSL
SA surfer Joshe Faulkner at the press conference on July 11 for the J-Bay Open. Picture: WSL

The competition will run from July 12 to 21. Competitors are confident about the waves and weather and hope to bring their best performance at Jeffreys Bay’s world-renowned right-hand surf break.  

“It’s been some time since we’ve had the contest. We have really good waves on the way so I think if the WSL can just pick the right moments, the supporters and people watching online are really going to be in for a treat,” Smith said.

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