The Little Prince

Jayce Robinson talks to Matt Smith, on a coastal walk into St. Ives, over the hills of Clodgy, overlooking the bay, the North coast and Godrevy lighthouse.

MS:Can I call the article the little prince? It reminds me of your softness and loveliness? I say it lovingly, I love the way you have created this nice life for yourself, I love the amount of time you take with your friends. How tidy and welcoming you are. I love the amount of exercise you do and how important self-care is.

JR: The prince is what I am called because I often get what I want. (laughs) The little prince. At least it’s not Ronkle.

MS: Can you tell me how you are feeling?

JR: I had an Acai bowl, lovely start to the day. It’s autumn, one of my favorite seasons. Dogs are growling (there are dogs growling), monkeys on the roof (there is no monkeys in cornwall). I love how autumn makes me feel, crystal clear air, cold fresh sea breeze. How can you not feel good? It's one thing I miss when I go to hot places, you don’t get that same buzz when you breathe in. It's our natural high in Cornwall. We all have moments of needing to know what direction we are going in but in general, content-ness is fulfilling me. I didn’t sleep well last night, I’m struggling with sleep, I think a lot of people do, I thought about getting some pills but it’s not the best idea in the long run. I can’t get to sleep for 2 hours most nights, its restless. Over thinking. I need to surf for 4 hours in the day to conk out straight away; it’s annoying as sleep is so important. Without sleep I cannot focus. It’s getting worse as I grow up.

MS: What does being Cornish mean to you?

JR: Being naturally Cornish is a funny thing. We have so many people coming in and out. It hasn’t got the uniqueness that it used to but to me it’s the land, coming to the coast, seeing the rugged vast, hilly, rocky landscape and knowing that the sea is there, it’s always been there with its fish and the tin mines are still standing, that’s Cornwall. When you belong somewhere it’s hard to say what sticks out. If I didn’t live here it would be easier to notice the difference. I like it when people come and remind me of the changes in Cornwall, it’s a fresh set of eyes. It’s so easy when I am home to get stuck in my routine, we all know how to get out of it, for me standing on the hills looking out at Godrevy and breathing is one of the things that brings me back to real life, it’s hard to do it everyday, we need to earn money, to live to work. The way the world is moving I feel I need to keep up with it. I do like to keep up with the world, and when I can put messages out there about how others can make improvements, even talking to a mate or a movement. We all know what’s good and where the heart is.

MS: I always seek your council, I respect you. I learned that from respecting your expert surfing and translated that to respecting all of you...

JR: I notice sometimes people only respect people who are more talented than them, it rumbles my cage. It’s subconscious, but if they did give that person their time and respect, there is so much gold there. The kook falling off before they get to their feet could be the wisest person that ever lived. You could listen to that sound all day (we’re listening to the sound of the sea, many minutes pass as we look over Porthmeor.)

MS: Do you think you are handsome?

JR: Shut up. (We laugh) Not really, I’m a bit of a midget.

MS: What do you think of the British surf scene?

JR: With competition comes different feelings, I love it and I hate it, it’s always been like that. When dad took me to the first comp one he’d heard about from one of his old mates in Aggie. It was the Cornish championships and I was 11 or 12 and I managed to come third. To see all these other guys, like Ruben (Ash) and that shredding, it opened my eyes to a world outside of Porthmeor and St. Ives. I didn’t even know there were other surfers out there. I didn’t even know competitions existed. So I was blown away, and thought this is what I want to do. There was nothing else in surfing for me apart from meeting up with all these people again at another event. I was young and dreaming. That’s what took me through life as a surfer, the competition aspect. Having the British tour. It pushed the standard and I appreciate that. At the end of the day we want to be on par with the Aussie and Americans, it would be great to watch your mates go and compete on the World Tour.

MS: I hear you saying the British surf scene is competitions.

JR: When I first think about the scene I think of the Tour, the events. I love the stories of Lowey and you boys in Ireland and I love that, I’d like to widen my horizons to all of that. Its bigger than competitions, it’s not the be all and end all and I am changing that within myself. Once you have been doing something for so long it’s hard to change, 17 years I have been riding for Rip Curl, traveling, competing for them. For me to now go and grab an alternative board and surf it for a year, I love the mix but it seems short boarding is my thing. I love to do big airs and radical turns- that’s me. I am not going to change who I am because people say “Jayce you should ride a fish.” I enjoy getting radical and I’m not going to lie about it. I don’t know why people want me to try other boards out. (There is a waist to shoulder high wave coming in at Porthmeor)Look at this!” I can’t push my surfing the way I want it to on these other boards, I love the feeling of getting my fins out and landing backwards and pulling it round and finding having a small board to do it on is great.

MS: 17 years at Rip Curl?

JR: It’s over. When I was 12 I had the choice to go with Rip Curl or Quiksilver. I chose Rip Curl because of their great wetsuits. What a great choice, I did so much with them, they enlightened me to a whole world out there; training in Aus, meeting so many people, they gave me work experience, marketing, sales, management, opportunities, I’m forever grateful. But I feel like I’m in my prime right now after they taught me so much. All that hard work, all of a sudden gone to nothing.

MS: How is you relationship with them now?

JR: Within the 17 years I saw so many people pass through the company I feel I lost certain relationships because I don’t know where some of the people I had a relationship with are even gone. There is a couple of people I did trips with and I loved them. I learned a lot about the brand, I loved their search motto and it’s who I am searching and exploring, it's where I wanted to go and push it with them. All companies have good and bad within them.

Someone is getting pitted, it’s a bit closey but we could find some corners. Some of Jayce’s friends arrive and we go surfing.

Cover photo by Lewis Arnold.