Jordy Smith recently announced a board partnership over social media, and more surprising than the timing is the shaper … A former Channel Islands rider, Jordy boasts Top 5 Championship Tour credentials and global appeal. Rather than leverage his power to sign with a household name like Jason Stevenson, Jordy’s choice was such a dark horse that the announcement seemed to launch the shaper’s company website and, in some ways, the company itself. So, why opt for a relatively unknown shaper? Tracing the arc to its source yields a long, powerful carve akin to something Jordy might lay down at J-Bay.

Smth Shapes’ first Instagram post comes from December of 2018. The photo features Jordy’s feet planted on a Smth Shape while getting shacked. In 2017, Jordy went to the Mentawais as the featured rider for surfing’s Pepsi Challenge for shapers. Enthusiastic after a solid first session on one tasty stick, the board’s second session saw Jordy string a Macaroni’s barrel like a necklace and snap the board. Despite losing the mystery board early in the second session, Jordy ranked it third overall behind Jon Pyzel and Jason Stevenson (JS), but ahead of Darren Handley (DHD), Matt Biolos (Mayhem), and others. The third-place board was shaped by Graham Smith, Jordy’s father, and was a “G-Force.” Jordy grew up surfing boards shaped by Graham, and now, more than three years after joking: “So he can shape, and he wasn’t just talking shit all these years,” Jordy becomes the marquee rider for Graham’s rebranded “Smth Shapes.” Jordy’s shaper swap carries two intriguing implications for anyone who has ordered, or considered ordering, a custom board.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

@smthshapes is finally live. After riding thousands of different boards throughout my professional career it came full circle last year and I found myself back on my dads boards. Back to the source, back to the shaper I’ve had my most success with. We wanted a fresh start so we formed SMTH Shapes. We took 40+ years of shaping and my 25 years of surfing and built what we believe are some of the best surfboards available to both the high performance and recreational surfer. My motto has always been, if you’re going fast, you’re having fun. I’m so excited to get boards under everyone’s feet and the support is appreciated. Check out SMTHShapes.com and let me know if you have any questions. I’m going to be releasing info on all the models over the next few days. Thank you to everyone that helped bring this project to life and to my dad for always being by my side supporting me. 🤙🏼 photos @sachaspex

A post shared by 𝑱𝑶𝑹𝑫𝒀 𝑺𝑴𝑰𝑻𝑯 (@jordysmith88) on

First, the switch provides a chance to witness how communication and continuity impact a surfer’s growth. Similar to the child rewarded with two candy bars after waiting ten minutes as opposed to the child opting for one candy bar now, conventional thinking posits that patience is also rewarded in surfboard buying. Designing a board after discussion of a surfer’s physical attributes, experience, style, home break, and future surf goals, yields a board suited to the rider’s desires. Establishing a relationship with a shaper and custom ordering a board rewards the surfer, and the longer a relationship, the more attuned shaper and surfer become. Jordy is leaning all the way into that belief. Family is family. Jordy’s communication with Graham should enable Jordy to seamlessly translate what he feels while riding waves to Graham’s hands, thereby conjuring boards suited to Jordy’s desires.

Second, the switch will highlight the cultural impact one of the world’s most recognisable surfers can have on a relatively unknown shaper. Through their partnership, “Gee” and Jordy are banking on Jordy’s visibility and the name father and son share. Given that Jordy is one of the most popular surfers in the world, the hope is that his name and signature models will increase sales for Smth Shapes. Graham has been shaping since 1969, but G-Force did not achieve universal notoriety. With a rebranding, father and son will work to see if Smth Shapes’ footprint can reach beyond South Africa. Whether Smth boards will rock up on racks in local board shops is yet to be seen, but custom orders are shipping. Can Smth, through Jordy’s star power and Graham’s shaping, achieve the visibility of a Daniel “Tomo” Thomson, who created the Slater Designs Cymatic?

Jordy from Morgan Maassen on Vimeo.

Jordy and Graham are tracing a narrative that speaks to surfing’s past, present, and future. While many surfers want the ‘family’ experience of being on a first-name basis with a local shaper twirling custom boards, the global surf machine shaves profit off of local shapers. For every good shaper, the dilemma is whether to modernize, increase margins, and make more money, or remain a local legend. The nature of this dilemma, as seen from the perspective of consumers and builders, is summarized on the JS website: “PLEASE NOTE: The factory IS NOT open to the public for any visits, tours or enquiries. We are a factory and staff are not equipped to deal with the general public. Visits hold up production, dispatch, and processing of orders. Thanks for your understanding.”