Jordan Kelly’s Widening Circle
This is the story of how one surfer pursuing his passions can come to touch so many. At the bottom of the page, you’ll find a series of links related to this story.
Last winter we heard about a young guy named Jordan Kelly that we had met briefly at an event at a favorite spot of ours, Corduroy Surf Boutique. What we didn’t know when we met him was that he was absolutely taken with the idea of making his own board at one of our workshops. He’d been making his own skateboards for awhile, living in a beach house at a break north of us where he made surfing and skating the center of his life and fit other things in around them. A very spiritual, soulful and artistic guy. Problem was, he couldn’t afford the class. After a period of time, his mom Karen pitched in to help him to come.
Tragically, soon after he found that he could attend, he died in a car accident. His mom, when going through his important papers – school transcripts, passport, etc. – found a a Grain rack-card describing the classes. It was the only non-official thing in there. So when asked about flowers at the funeral, in the spur of the moment she said – “collect donations – we’ll send some kids to learn to build surfboards”. Though it’s hard to imagine thinking of that at such a moment, she’s convinced it was so important to him that she was somehow directed to come up with the idea by her son who was now gone from her.
Later in the winter – and out of the blue – we got email from a former student of one of our workshops… Jeff Martin, a guy about the same age as Jordan who had coincidentally had a near-death accident that kept him laid up and rehabbing for months some years before. He wanted us to donate a kit which he would build in British Columbia where he lived, take to Mexico, surf, and then donate to a school or to some deserving kid. Thinking of Jordan, we emailed him back inviting him to build it at our shop. His cross-country flight was booked within twenty minutes. After he arrived, we told him about Jordan, and he was immediately connected. He called Jordan’s mother, drove a few hours through a snowstorm to meet her, and during a long visit they comforted each other, he no doubt thinking of his own mom who had moved into his flat to care for him the whole time he was recuperating from his own accident.
So it was settled: Jeff (from BC) would build a board that we would raffle. The proceeds would go to the Jordan Kelly Surf School Fund that the family initiated. But the circle widened we connected another Grain kit-builder, James Russo, that had ties to a non-profit called Stoked Mentoring. Stoked helps inner city kids in NY and LA by exposing them to board sports figures and activities. Though the original idea was to send kids to our workshops, we thought that more could be done if a non-profit had an ongoing fund, and if kids from Stoked were plugged in with their mentors.
When the opportunity came to us (from our friend and Home Grown Kit builder Ed Lewis) to send some Grain boards to Australia for inclusion in a new Mick Waters film, we sent the board that Jeff built for Jordan. Dave Rastovich has surfed that board, signed it, given it his seal of approval, and we’re hopeful that it may appear in Mick’s upcoming film “Little Black Wheels”.
Now a circle’s been formed between Jordan, his family, his local surf shop, Rasta, Mick the film maker, three Grain kit builders, Stoked Mentoring’s staff, city kids none of us have ever met, and Grain. We’re wondering if this fund can live on indefinitely, helping Jordan’s family to see his “life” continuing on and his rootsy, generous spirit touching people that really need a vision of the kinds of alternative choices for their lives that to Jordan came so naturally. We hope that by training mentors, and traveling to NYC and LA, we can help kids to gain the skills, confidence and feelings of accomplishment.
Corduroy Surf Boutique
Naka-Waka Raffle Fish Construction Pages (Jeff Martin)
Littlehouse Productions (Mick Waters)
The Leucadia Project (Ed Lewis)