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Meet LDS surfer Jordy Collins, one of the sport's rising young stars

November 30,-0001 00:00

The only break he took from the sport was when he attended BYU and when he served a Mormon Church mission in Denmark. After graduating from BYU in 1992, he returned to California and surfing. He and his wife Tammy have four children, the others ...and more »



Hey, kids, aren’t you glad you aren’t 17-year-old Jordy Collins? He surfs three-four times a day — “I try to surf every day,” he says — but he does get Sundays off. Poor kid. He surfs because it’s basically his job. The working conditions are brutal — all that sun and water, you know. How does he stand it?

He has to endure a commute every day. From his home in Carlsbad, California, he has to walk two entire blocks to get to the beach — that is, when he isn’t traveling to competitions in Hawaii, Brazil, Mexico, Barbados, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina. … Each year he moves to Hawaii for a few weeks to train. It’s a tough life, but someone has to do it. What about school, you’re wondering? He home-schools so he can surf full time.

You could get used to being Jordy Collins.

His life sounds like one Endless Summer (cue the Beach Boys music), but this is serious business for him. He is one of the rising young competitive surfers in the country. He competes on the Qualifying Series tour, which is to the World Surf League what Triple A baseball is to the Major Leagues. He’s trying to earn his way into the big leagues.

Last year he was one of 10 surfers — and the lone American — selected from around the world to compete on a Brazilian island for the title of King of the Groms (in surfer parlance, a young surfer). Sponsored by Quiksilver, it’s part surf competition, part photo session. In the end, Collins was named the winner.

At this year’s National Scholastic Surfing Association regional championships, which is the culmination of 10 qualifying competitions on the West Coast, he won the junior (19 and under) championship and was third in the open men’s competition. The winner of the super senior division was none other than Collins’ father, Daren, marking the first time anyone could ever remember a father and son winning trophies.

In the Surfing America series, which uses a grand-prix type scoring system based on the results of six competitions, Collins won the overall 2016 series championship.

At the Volcom’s global championships in June, which brings together the winners of regional competitions from around the world, he placed fourth in the junior competition.

Ultimately, Collins hopes to qualify for the World Surfing League and make a career of surfing. “It’s kind of like, if you don’t get there by around 22, the odds get worse for you,” he explains. With the addition of surfing to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, Collins has Olympic aspirations, as well.

Collins learned surfing literally at the feet of his father, riding on the end of Daren’s board as a 2-year-old. Daren took up surfing while growing up in San Diego. The only break he took from the sport was when he attended BYU and when he served a Mormon Church mission in Denmark. After graduating from BYU in 1992, he returned to California and surfing. He and his wife Tammy have four children, the others being Justin, a returned missionary who attends BYU, Joshua, who is serving a mission in the Czech Republic, and Jill, who lives at home. All of them grew up on a surfboard.

“The family that surfs together stays together,” says Daren, a sales executive who still surfs several times a week and competes in local surf events. At 51, he is 20 pounds lighter than his college days.

Says Jordy, “As long as I can remember my dad would take me out surfing.”

By 4, he was boogie boarding and surfing in the white water close to shore. At 7, he began paddling out alone to catch the waves. He started competing in local surf events at 9 and then two years later began competing in regional events up and down the coast. In his father’s words, “He was good, but not great. Really it was last year that he turned it up a notch.”

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