Remember this face. You might be seeing it a lot in 2018.
Ummm, Who The Hell Is Jorgann Couzinet?
Reunion's latest export is sick of his anonymity.
Note: This interview originally ran 13 months ago, when Jorgann was on the cusp of, but did not eventually achieve, qualifying for the 2018 Championship Tour. Again within striking distance of the Big Leagues (Jorgann sits eighth on the QS in 2018) and as the proud owner of his first CT wildcard (at the Quik Pro France), we thought it made sense to repost this story.
Recently, I checked my WSL app to see if Yago Dora or Michael Rodrigues, two of my favorite Brazilians, had achieved victory at the 2017 QS 6,000 Pull&Tug Pantin Classic Galicia Pro surfing contest in Spain.
Much to my rage, it was revealed that Michael had been defeated by some Finnish (Swedish?) guy in the final. This German fella, who calls himself Jorgann (note: the 'J' is pronounced quite loudly, while the first 'n' is silent), had not only pilfered MRod's 6,000 points, but Jorgy leap-frogged him in the overall QS rankings. Sitting at seventh on The List, Jorgann appears equally ready to usurp Yago, who resides within wet-willy range at number six.
Now, keep in mind that I've committed (wasted?) the better part of 24 years to knowing the names, origin stories, and breakfast orders of every noteworthy surfer under the sun... and I have never heard this Russian guy's name.
So who the hell is Jorgann Couzinet?
So, Jorgann, to be perfectly frank, the reason I’m calling you is because you’re number seven on the QS and I’ve literally never heard your name. How is that possible?
[Laughs] I’m not sure!
Well let's get acquainted! How old are you and where are you from?
I’m 23 and from Reunion Island, but I’ve been living in France for the past four years.
I assume that’s because of the sh--
Sharks, yeah. It’s too dangerous to surf there now, so if I wanted to continue pursuing this career, I had to relocate. My friend died in one of the attacks, and after that I made the decision to move to France.
Have you wanted to be a pro surfer your whole life?
Since I was eleven I’ve been thinking about the CT, watching Kelly Slater and Andy Irons ripping, so I was like Oh my gosh, this is what I want to do.
And now, at 23, you’re almost there.
Yes, I finally got my first win on the QS and it feels very good. I’ve been training very hard to get to this point.
Do you feel like your surfing has drastically improved over the last couple years? I’m just trying to figure out how a guy who surfs at your level can be so off the radar…
That’s what I’m thinking too [laughs]. I’ve been training mentally and physically with my coach, and also trying out a ton of good boards -- DHD, Lost, Merrick. Good boards and a strong mind are super important to performance. (Editor's note: Jorgann's surfing has improved exponentially in recent times. Compare this video, from five months ago, to Jorgann's surfing today (below))
It shows in your results -- four finals thus far in 2017 and a major win a few days ago.
Yeah, I’ve had three second places and one win. I was getting so angry about the seconds, I told myself, It’s time to win a contest. I was stoked to finally get over that hurdle.
Seated at number seven on the QS, you’re in a strong position to qualify for the 2018 CT. What are your thoughts going into the backend of the QS season?
At the beginning of the year, I made a pact with Michael February that we would qualify together. When he started getting all those good results, I felt like “Shit, I have to do it now” [laughs]. Now that I’m moving up in the ranks, I’m very excited. I just want to focus on taking it heat by heat and not think too much about qualification itself.
Do you think your surfing is ready for the CT?
I think my surfing is more ready for the CT than it is for the QS. I’m a big boy… like 85 kilograms and 1.87 meters, so I tend to surf better in bigger waves.
Who is your main sponsor?
My main sponsor is a French company called Soöruz.
Why do you think you don't have a more... mainstream sponsor?
I don’t know, maybe because I didn’t get that much exposure when I was younger. I didn’t get much video of myself or anything like that. I’ve also just been improving a lot the past few months.
What’s your favorite aspect of surfing? Turns, barrels, soul-arches, etc.?
I think the most exciting thing in my surfing is crazy laybacks. People know me for my laybacks [laughs] -- I think it’s the key to my success right now. I love doing airs, too.
Who is your favorite surfer?
In the small stuff, definitely Filipe, but otherwise Kelly Slater.
What do you want the surf world to know about you?
Uhhh, just that I’m coming [laughs]. This is my dream, and I'm ready to make it real.