Durban’s North beach played host to the second ever Red Bull Nightshift with over 9,000 spectators on the beach to watch South Africa’s top surfer Jordy Smith and his friends bust out some insane aerial manoeuvres under the lights.
The event, reminiscent of previous night surfing events at North Beach, was a homecoming of sorts - a chance for Jordy to consolidate and focus ahead of the upcoming surf season with the Mr Price Pro Ballito and Billabong Pro titles firmly in his sights.
Well-known surf personality, Gigs Celliers was excited about having night surfing back in Durban: “Great beach entertainment combined with Durban’s amazing winter climate has proved to be a winning formula. Events like Red Bull Nightshift go a long way in reviving Durban’s reputation as ‘Surf City’. In fact we haven’t seen crowds like this at a surfing event in almost a decade.”
Freeride-jetski ace Jeremy Phillips warmed up the crowd with his FMX-based surf combinations, launching at least 8 meters into the air with his impressive underflip and finishing his routine off with a crazy can-can backflip that had the crowd holding its breath.
The invited surfers most certainly didn’t disappoint. David Weare’s ambitious near full rotation ‘Kerrupt’ – a move pioneered by surfer Josh Kerr – was well received by the large crowd. Ricky Basnett landed a technical air reverse, with phenomenal height and control, reminiscent of his Mr Price Pro win at the same location almost six years ago. Youngsters like Michael February and Slade Prestwich had a great opportunity to rub shoulders with the biggest names in South African surfing and still held their own.
Jordy pulled out all the stops and definitely hit the biggest air of the night. His breathtaking flair, speed and control makes it easy to see why he’s an ASP world tour favourite and runner up in 2010 to Kelly Slater.
“The event was a great success,” Jordy remarked. “The guys are an amazing bunch of surfers and gave the crowd something to enjoy despite the conditions deteriorating towards the end of the night. It’s great to be home and to see such a huge crowd come out and support us.”
The night was topped off by incredible performances by City Bowl Mizers and Shadowclub.
Chad Du Toit