Tracks - - The Yarn -

If you tuned in closely to this year’s New­cas­tle Sur­fest you would have seen Re­union Is­land’s Jor­gann Couzinet pulling off some of the wildest punts of the event. De­spite surf­ing with a bro­ken wrist, the string-limbed goofy footer with the lick of punk-blonde hair, made the quar­ters by land­ing the kind of tech­ni­cal airs that in­spire jump afi­ciona­dos to give stand­ing ova­tions in front of their screens. How­ever, Jor­gann’s ex­cite­ment over his best re­sult in a con­test was stifled by the knowl­edge that only a few days ear­lier he had lost an­other good friend to a shark at­tack on Re­union Is­land. Be­low, the gen­tly spo­ken Jor­gann, whose first lan­guage is French, dis­cusses los­ing an­other friend to sharks and surf­ing Re­union with an armed se­cu­rity team.

How long did you spend surf­ing on Re­union Is­land?

I was liv­ing on Re­union Is­land for 17 years and I de­cided to move to France three years ago be­cause it was im­pos­si­ble to stay there and surf – with the sharks it was im­pos­si­ble to stay there. Now I am liv­ing in Hossegor with my girl­friend and my dog.

Did you surf St Leu a lot when you were grow­ing up?

I lived 20km away from St Leu but I tried to surf a lot there – three or four times per week. So I think it’s quite a lot.

You must have some good mem­o­ries of ses­sions at St Leu

Yeah, yeah. Right now I’m just dream­ing about a good ses­sion there. It’s been three years that I haven’t surfed there so I’m su­per sad, but that’s life and I hope that maybe one day I can back there and surf. Prob­a­bly next year I’m gonna surf there be­cause I’m go­ing to have some­thing for the shark be­cause I have a spon­sor that is work­ing on this project.

You have a friend who is work­ing on a prod­uct to make surf­ing in sharky wa­ters safe?

No, a spon­sor. So you will see maybe next year I am go­ing to go there and make a clip and you’re go­ing to see it.

So what kind of prod­uct is it?

A spe­cial thing that you wear on you like a bracelet and the shark can’t even be close to you.

You are happy to be the guinea pig for the prod­uct – to surf St Leu and see if it ac­tu­ally works?

Yeah, it’s pretty scary but I want to try. It’s too im­por­tant for me be­cause Re­union Is­land it’s all for me. It’s crazy be­cause I went so many places in the world and this place is still the best place I’ve ever been.

It’s a shame for it not to be surfed?

It’s crazy.

When did you start notic­ing that the sharks were a prob­lem?

At the be­gin­ning of my ca­reer there were about seven years with­out an at­tack and then the prob­lem with sharks be­gan… Re­union was the best is­land to live. When we were kids you can surf ev­ery day, you im­prove and can be an ex­tremely good surfer if you surf all the waves there… Now it’s im­pos­si­ble to go there. I’m al­most the last gen­er­a­tion. That’s why I’m fight­ing hard and go­ing a lot to the gym and stuff.

Did you have many close en­coun­ters with sharks your­self on Re­union?

No, not re­ally but I have so many friends that died. Many friends. I have a friend that died like four days ago.

He was also a friend?

Yeah, a good friend. A re­ally good guy. Su­per pos­i­tive all the time. So I’m so sad about this sit­u­a­tion, but maybe one day we’re go­ing to get Re­union Is­land back. But now there are so many prob­lems with the me­dia. Maybe you have heard about it with Kelly Slater?

So do you think they need to in­tro­duce a plan to re­duce the num­ber of sharks on Re­union Is­land?

Yeah for sure, I think now there are too many sharks in Re­union – too many hun­gry sharks. They need food and there is no more food and they want to eat.

So you think the only so­lu­tion is to kill some of the sharks on Re­union?

Yeah, I’m sure be­cause I think there is too much ac­tiv­ity.

But the dream for you is to have an­other good ses­sion at Re­union?

I went to Re­union Is­land three months ago. It was crazy. I surfed a cou­ple of waves with se­cu­rity. Like there’s a boat with a cou­ple of guys on it and some guys in the wa­ter with you know a gun (spear gun). I surfed a cou­ple of good waves there but not the best wave. I was sad.

St Leu is still the best wave?

St Leu is still the best wave but there is so many other waves that are amaz­ing...

How did you de­velop the aerial act?

In Re­union we can do airs be­cause the wa­ter is su­per hot you know. For your feet it’s way bet­ter. You can try airs and then try and go crazy on the wave and you know that the wa­ter is not su­per cold and that your feet are not go­ing to break or get stiff.

So there was a com­pet­i­tive crew of surfers on re­union when you grew up?

Yeah, there was a cou­ple of good surfers but I think now with Maxine (Hus­cenot) and Jeremy (Flores) I’m the last that want to do the tour or can do it. Jo­hanne De­fay of course. That makes me want to cry but I’m su­per proud.


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