Jordy Smith on making a signature film with Kai Neville
Kai and Jordy have a history of making music in moving pictures. The brutish South African had some of the most dominant performances in Modern Collective and Lost Atlas, so it seemed a little strange that the credits would roll in Dear Suburbia without so much as a tail-throw from Jordy. As it turns out, Smith wasn’t hiding from the lens while his peers nailed clips for DS—he and Kai were busy making something else entirely. After roughly a year of filming, Jordy and Kai debuted Bending Colours at the Del Mar Theater in Santa Cruz, and it was pretty messed up (see: massive airs and violent man-hacks). I met up with Jordy in a cluttered hotel room on the East Side to discuss the making of his first signature film.
After seeing the finished product on the big screen the other night, what did you think about how it came out in the end?
I was pretty pumped. I think there are probably going to be a few more movies that I’d like to make throughout the rest of my career, but for the first one, I really enjoyed it. I loved filming at home in South Africa. I think those sections probably spoke to everyone more than the rest, just because there is a lot more of a feeling behind it with the waves and the people and the places that I grew up around. Maybe I just connect to it a lot more because of that, but I had a lot of fun with the whole movie. Kai did an awesome job with it, the boys were ripping, and I fulfilled my lifelong dream of surfing with my hero, Tom Curren.
Kai said at the premiere that making this movie was more of a collaboration than he’s used to. How much of a role did you play in the direction?
I had a little bit of a role in the direction of the whole thing, but for the most part Kai is pretty stubborn in that sense. He has his style and the way he does everything, so I just kind of gave him my ideas and then left it up to him. He definitely came through. I thought he portrayed me the best he could, but I think the next movie I do will show a little more of my character. I felt like that was the only thing that may have lacked in the movie.
What session from the movie really stands out to you as something you’ll remember?
My session with Tom Curren, for sure. It was just he and I out at a secret wave in South Africa. It was amazing to be surfing with him, and those waves that are in the movie will just always be in my mind.
How long did it take to make the movie, and was that why you didn’t have a part in Dear Suburbia?
Yeah. I’ve got nothing against Dear Suburbia—I thought the surfing was really good—but I didn’t really like that movie too much. Before I was super nervous about missing out on being a part of that, but at the same time I wanted to get my film out there, and it had been in the works for a while. I did my first trip for it about two and a half years ago, then I just completely put it on hold for a bit when I realized how much dedication it was going to take. We got back into it about 10 months ago and have been filming a bunch of trips since then. I was pumped that I was able to get some of my friends on those trips because I think they surfed really great in the movie.
In the last scene of the movie, you were kind of nailing “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” Is Guns N’ Roses your go-to for karaoke?
It was that night [laughs.] I don’t know, I sing a ton. I think I’m pretty good, but my chick always tells me I’m really bad. I do like Axl Rose, I think he’s sick. That’s not really my go-to, it just happens to be the one that they had in the bar at the time. It was in Reunion, and that was probably the only song in English that they had. There was actually a Brittany Spears song as well, but the filmer Daniel did that one. It was funny because the locals where trying to sing along, but I don’t think they really knew what they were singing. They were more just making the sounds. It was pretty funny.
Click here to get Bending Colours on iTunes.