Jordy SmithMorgan MaassenDamien Fahrenfort

"My life goal is be world champion"

We had a quick chat with Jordy Smith, Morgan and Dooma (Jordy’s manager) about the short film/clip that released last week. The clip itself is a refreshing change of pace from the IG glut we’re used to and I thought it’d be nice to get some insight around the development of the clip and how content is playing a part right now in a dead competitive world of surf.

Jordy Smith

Empire Ave: You mentioned in the clip that you’re chasing goals, what’s the next goal and how are you going to achieve that?
Jordy Smith: If I don’t have goals I get stagnant. I have to keep setting myself new goals. My life goal has always been World Champion, but this year had other plans. So to keep myself motivated I’ve set new goals until the tour resumes. My immediate goal is to score the best waves I can at home. Not until I retire will I get to enjoy the whole South African winter. The Durban coast has been incredible this year already. Then I want to keep working on new models with my dad for SMTH Shapes. Unless you took a year off you’d never get an opportunity like this to work on equipment. Then my other goal is to set everything up this year, so when next year starts I’m not thinking about anything else but a World Title or Olympic Gold.

EA How has living in Hawaii impacted/improved your surfing?
JS: Living in Hawaii is one the best things I’ve ever done. I’m still pretty bottom of the totem pole when Pipe is good, but when I paddle out at big Pipe now I feel like I’m probably going to get a good wave. That and being comfortable being on my toes the whole time. Surfing with Barron, John and those guys on a daily basis also keeps me pushing harder.

EA: You’ve got one of the most polished approaches in the game – what in your eyes can you improve on to get even better?
JS: Ah man, I never thought I could improve my carve and then I started working with Chris Gally. He improved that and so much of my surfing in a year or so. Technique, how to tap into speed and make sure as I’m getting older, and surfing against younger kids I’m keeping up. Working on my agility is probably as important as working on my surfing.

EA: Managing injuries seems to be coming up more and more as crew push the limits of surfing – John John, Filipe, You as well. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in terms of making sure you stay fit and healthy?
JS: Best bit of advice has changed a lot over the last 3-5 years but for me it’s probably been around my output. Not always surfing for the camera has been a big one. I don’t have to win every free surf. Other than that, routine and staying healthy when it comes to diet.

Jordy enjoying Winter at home in South Africa.

Morgan Maassen

Empire Ave: In an era when we all see is 30sec IG Clips, what drives you to put out clips like this one (and the Noah one, etc) that tell a story, that are edited and shot so beautifully…
Morgan Maassen: In the last 10-15 years, surf films have lost their footing to web clips. And in the last 2-3 years, web clips have lost their ground to 60-second, one wave instagram snippets. These films are just how my mind works; I can’t do the Instagram scroll, or process my news via headlines and memes. I want to sit down, absorb something, learn something new, and be transported. It’s also always an honour to point my lens at my friends and heroes, and make something meaningful. Most of my brand work is now for web and social media – the epicentres of advertising – so to put out content like this is very creatively satisfying.

EA: How long does it take to pull a clip like this together? Shooting, editing, colouring, etc…
MM: We shot this over a 10 day trip to the Mentawais, a week in South Africa, and a couple days in Hawaii. And we shot it over the course of about 6 months. I sat down to edit this in early June, and it took about 1-2 days to organize all the footage. In that process, I lay it out chronologically, and earmark my favorite footage on an A/B level rating system. I took a couple days off, listened to a couple playlists on shuffle, then edited it in about half a day. Color-correction, revisions, audio levels, etc, were finalized over the next several weeks. 

EA: From a content perspective what do you think the leading surfers could be doing better?
MM: It’s hard to say. Personally, I think Kelly, Jordy and Steph have the best instagrams around, where they post quality projects, great photos, and the brand content they do share is tasteful… But they aren’t posting constantly, and so its amazing watching guys like Filipe Toledo or Nathan Florence just fly past them as they spam with (still awesome, but lower-quality) content. I personally don’t like the concept of posting constantly for the sake of posting, but thats me postulating against the literal ethos of social media: a constant stream of free, quick-bite entertainment. So, I’m uncertain. It’s a time & energy equation. I struggle to give social media more than an hour a day. Yet its my biggest marketing tool and drives a ton of income to my business. I get clients and fans thanking me for sharing only premium content and not doing constant stories pimping out energy drinks and CBD and bath bombs. But I also lose a lot of work opportunities and have a hard time gaining new followers. I see and respect every side of one’s approach to it.

Damien Fahrenfort

Empire Ave: We’re in the middle of a pandemic that has already resulted in salary cuts, etc, how does dropping a clip like this work in your favour as Jordy’s manager? 
Damien Fahrenfort: People really want to see Jordy Smith surf so any clip of him people seem stoked about. As a manager what works in my favor? Probably the comments, if any sponsors were having any doubts about Jordy’s ability to win a world title, read the comments or watch the clip. Pretty easy to imagine him winning and although he’s older 32, lol, he’s still kids favorite surfer. This clip had a few more trips planned but obviously the virus had other plans. 

EA: How are you working with Jordy on managing content plans across all his social channels to ensure he’s still highly visible now that comps aren’t on…
DF: The biggest challenge with working with Jordy is he’s such a perfectionist. He doesn’t want things to ever go out unless he thinks it’s perfect or showcases the best of what he has to offer. It’s just not a reality in 2020 so I’m always trying to get him to drop stuff and keep people engaged. Then showing more of his personality. WSL do a poor job at showing how funny and awesome he is. He’s one of the wittiest people I’ve ever met and I wish more people could see that. 

EA: What do think are some of the smarter things any Tier A/B surfing athlete could do right now to stay employed? 
DF: Ah man that’s a tough question. For me in an ideal world it would be weekly videos on youtube. I can’t bring myself to endorse vlogging but it’s the necessary evil. You don’t have to look into the camera and talk but there’s a good way to do it. There’s so much good content you could be creating with the down time now. And the audience has never been more engaged or hungry for it. You could grow your subs twice as fast as usual. The challenge is being unique and giving people a reason to tune in. I’d be dumping all my sponsorship dollars into my content if I was a sponsored surfer. Be proactive and phone your sponsors, pick their brains, ask them who is the audience they wished they had, and how you can go after them.  The guys who got busy this year will be sponsored for years to come. 

Jordy showing off his improved carve

The Clip

If you would like to read, explore, more our of interviews we’ve listed three below we’ve found popular or you can find yourself on the interviews page here.

– Ronnie Blakey, WSL Commentator.
– Tom Purbrick, Global Design Director at Quiksilver
– Sam Coombes, Founder of TCSS

Jordy Smith:
– Instagram

Morgan Maassen:
– Website
– Instagram

Damien Fahrenfort:
– Linkedin
– We Are Free Radicals