Video: Cameron Vurbeff
He Can't Surf For Two Years After This Video Goes Live
Jordy Collins is heading on a Mormon mission in the unlikeliest of places.
It's not uncommon for athletes to walk away from sport at the height of their ability.
Jordan did it, Tommy John did it (and now has a career-extending surgery named after him), even Slates did it after winning his fifth consecutive Title (of course, he eventually came back for five more).
In conjunction with his and Cameron Vurbeff's three-year-in-the-making film project, 'See You in Two', 21-year-old Californian QSer Jordy Collins will do the same.
The Collins family are avid members of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints, also known as Mormons. After spending a few years on the QS to no avail, Jordy decided to maintain the family tradition by heading to Utah's Brigham Young University.
Upon arrival, it became clear to Jordy that he wanted to share his faith with the world. For Mormons, that means getting sent on a two-year mission to a random geographical location and spreading Joseph Smith's teachings.
As far as the missions go, it's possible you end up in Hawaii, Fiji, or some other wave-rich locale. But frankly, a Mormon surfer is better off getting sent to a landlocked state or nation, because mission guidelines stipulate no strenuous physical activity—aka surfing (or sex, lol). And as anyone who's dealt with injury knows, there's nothing worse than not being able to surf when the waves are pumping in your backyard. It's better to be removed from the source entirely.
So where is Jordy heading, you might ask? Missouri. The Cave State. Where not even Ben Gravy could log a proper ride (first time around, at least).
With the Mormon church having over 67,000 active missionaries on a total of 399 assignments worldwide, it's not uncommon for a man of faith such as Jordy to take this sort of step. However, it is uncommon for a surfer talented as Jordy to simply walk away from the ocean for two years. Say what you will about his beliefs, but that's dedication in its purest form.
Below we talk to Jordy about his new edit, his feelings on being landlocked for the next two years, and what ex-CT surfer hand-shaped him the "best boards ever".
Josh Kerr's 5'3 handshape in action.
Stab: First off, amazing edit. That section at the Wedge was unreal, how long were you working on this?
Jordy Collins: It’s probably three years of footage, but we never really knew what we were collecting the footage for. We were just filming for fun, and for whatever reason, we didn't end up using any of this stuff. Then like six months ago I was like, “Hey, we're starting to get some pretty solid stuff, we should probably start putting it together.” Then when I decided I was going to be leaving for two years, I was like that’s the deadline. When I leave for my mission is going to be the deadline for when we get the clip out.
Amazing, and I want to hear all about the mission but I have to ask. I know you ride for Chris Borst, but you were on some different boards in this edit, specifically that Album. When did you get on those and why’d you decide to switch it up?
I was riding for Chris Borst for a while, and I got so Q’d out. I just kept riding the same shortboard over and over, doing a bunch of contests and just getting over it. So I had kind of expressed that to my buddy, Josh Kerr, who's actually my next-door neighbor. We were kicking it every day, and I wound up trying a couple of his Albums while surfing out front of our house. And then I told him, “Hey, I actually want to like get a couple of shapes for myself if that's all right.” And he was like, “Funny, you should say that because I want to shape a couple boards. So let me shape yours.” All those Albums I’m on are actually shaped by him.
That’s insane. What isn't that guy good at?
[Laughs] Those boards totally re-sparked my love for surfing. I was getting pretty over it, and when I got on those it was magic. It made me think so differently every time I surfed and made me fall in love with it 10-times more. I didn’t even tell him what I wanted or anything. We surf together all the time, so he was like, “I know what you want.” He made a little 5’3 quad that went insane, best board ever.
The Ozark's don't get A-Frames like this.
So when did you start at BYU, and what led you to pull the trigger on going to school in Provo, Utah?
I started at BYU in the fall of 2019. The decision to go to school coincided with me not wanting to do the QS anymore and overall not really knowing what I wanted to do. My brother goes there and my Dad is an alumnus. My brother told me I could come up and live with him and do school and it seemed like such a radical change and so far out of my comfort zone that it felt like what I had to do. I definitely needed to get uncomfortable.
A lot of the clips you’re seeing are actually from me driving home to film for a few days before driving back to school.
And you guys started the first NSSA collegiate club for a landlocked state, correct?
Yeah, my brother and a bunch of our friends went down to Mexico before school started last year and just kind of started calling ourselves the BYU Surf Club. Next thing you know, we were looking into it and figured out we could actually make it work. We raised money to pay the fees and be able to drive down—selling T-shirts, GoFundMe, everything. We figured we’d actually do pretty good 'cause a lot of the kids at BYU are from Laguna or San Diego.
How does your faith affects your outlook on surfing, both in and out of competition?
Honestly, there was a time where I based my self-worth on my results, which got pretty brutal. Eventually, I realized that competition wasn’t everything. I always knew that there’s a God that loves me and that he has a plan for me, and that no matter what happens, everything's going to be all right. It eventually helped me in competition to not get down on myself. I was on the Q for nine months a year, getting terrible results, missing flights, sleeping in weird places, and my faith just gave me that overall sense of belonging.
So when do you leave on this mission? And where are you heading?
I'll be flying out to Missouri on November 25th.
Where exactly in Missouri or you going?
It's hard to say—I can be stationed anywhere in the state. I’ll go to the first area and stay for 6 weeks, then move to another. It really depends, but I’m going to be considered Spanish-speaking (Ed note: Jordy is taking Spanish classes as a part of his training to do so), and most of the Latinos are in and around Kansas City. I’ll likely spend a good amount of time there.
Was there ever any doubt about doing this because of what it would do to your career in surf—not to mention the overall lack of ability to surf in landlocked Missouri?
Yeah, of course. I think if you would've asked me a couple years ago—and for sure when I was like 14 or 15—I was never, ever going to go on a mission. Even people in my church would ask me and it was always “no way.” Why would I leave surfing for two years? That's so brutal. Like there's not a chance. So that was always my stance on it.
I came home from the Australian leg in 2018 and realized I was over competition and that I needed to do something else. I knew I was supposed to be doing something more. I guess the more I grew up and matured, I actually started to appreciate my faith and appreciate the things that I have. It just made me think, “Hey, I'd be kind of a loser if I didn't go out and share this with people.”
So I know missionaries don’t have any say over where they get to go. Did you ever think to try and push to go somewhere you could maybe sneak a few sessions?
No, I couldn’t. Even if I got called to Fiji, they want you to be super laser-focused on your purpose and sharing the message of Christ. I knew I wasn’t going to surf for two years as soon as I made the decision to go.
Well, they say the first two weeks of quitting anything are the hardest. How do you feel about it? Getting the itch at all?
Yeah, it was definitely an adjustment, but I'm so busy every day and the things I’m doing are still fulfilling. I'm learning how to speak a language and I'm learning how to talk about Jesus Christ all day, and that is so much more fulfilling than...even like a good session. So I don't mind it at all.
Any plans for when you return to California? You’re gonna have to clean off the rust a bit no doubt…
I feel like I have plenty of time to think about that when I'm out there. I would imagine I'll come home and work towards getting my degree. There’s always gonna be surf trips, and once I get back I’ll re-commit myself to surfing. There are certain contests I would do each year—like if I could get into the Volcom Pipe Pro, I would do that. Or if I could get into, Arica I would love to go do those events. I wouldn't say that this is hanging it up forever. It's just a temporary two-year thing. And then I'll come home and see how I'm feeling about it all.