THE QUIET MAN OF TENERIFE
Jonathan Gonzalez is one of Europe's very finest surfers. But he's not a talker! We caught up with the lad recently to see if we could trick him into vibrating his vocal chords...
photos by Alex Laurel
You don’t say much. Are a deep thinker? What do you think about?
I am a very quiet kind of guy who keeps to himself and doesn’t like too much noise. Not total silence though, there’s a balance. I guess you could call me a calm, quiet guy. My business partner always thinks my mind’s gone compelety blank but it’s all in my head somewhere spinning round and round. However it is also thanks to him that things have worked out for me and continue to stay on track.
Do women go for the quiet, mysterious type dudes over the loud clown types?
Yeah I think that does happen a lot, but not only with men. Men often go for the quiet, mysterious women too.
On average, women say around 20,000 words per day, men around 7000. How many do you think Jony says?
Well I definitely would struggle to talk as much crap as women do, but it does sometime feel like a growing number of men are sounding more and more girl-like. Good company is the only thing I need to feel at ease.
A lot of European surfers reckon you are the best freesurfer in Europe. Are you?
For me that person is without question Joan Duru. He deserves to be at the top ever since he exploded onto the scene and missed out on the WCT by one spot. He’s progressed so much faster than all the other Euros with a true natural talent and amazing variety. And a backhand attack many would love to have.
What is good surfing today? Where will surfing go in ten years?
I think in a sense surfing will return to more open-face rail surfing with a smoother style, cleaner lines and better looking, of course all this will be mixed with amazing airs, but not the technical tricks we often see guys doing today with very little style. At least that’s what I’m thinking right now. I’d much prefer to watch a video part filled with great style and flow than just a series of one-manoeuvre waves, there’s no comparison.
You’ve been on the QS a long time, does the goal of qualifying seem closer or further away?
Probably harder but not necessarily further away, you set your own goals and anyone with a very competitive spirit and above average talent can make the tour as we’ve seen in the past. In my case I’m most likely missing some of that killer competitive edge but failing to qualify for the tour isn’t going to stop me from being happy.
Some guys seem to almost surf better in heats, others the opposite. What % of your best surfing do you think you might surf at during heats?
If we measured it in percentage terms then it wouldn’t be very high because I have found that in free surfing contest formats where you’re not asked to surf under pressure, for example the Nixon Challenge then I usual fair better than in the traditional 30-minute best-two-wave format. In my case it’s most likely because I feel more relaxed and am just amped to surf without any pressure rather than nervous about making foolish wave priority mistakes or whatever.
Do you get fast music on headphones before a heat and get angry? Or you prefer a slow, smouldering inner fire to a raging inferno?
I do not usually listen to music. However sometimes I’ll have a song stuck in my head and if it’s sometime I like then that’s usually a good sign.
How does Jony express himself away from the sea?
Cooking is something I love to do whenever I’m with friends ... however I do need to work on a few new recipes now. Dancing was never my thing .... but I do love music as well as Spanish art and fashion, which sometimes cross-over with work and I’m a junky for pretty much any sport (not jiu jitsu though), pilates and triathlon challenges are what I like to do most when I’m out of the water.
Seems like there hasn’t been a whole load of young surfers come through from the Canaries compared to say, Reunion Island. Why’s that?
We’re beginning to see a good group of 10- to 15-year-old kids who I think will go far. I’ve always said that there’s a lot of talent but never the know-how to exploit it and brands have nearly always focused on those surfers living closest to France. That said sometimes we have been known to turn away from opportunities, I really hope that this new generation goes far.
If you went on a storming run now, won some primes and qualified for 2013, how do you assess your chances on that tour, honestly?
I’d see it as a real opportunity to prove myself in quality hollow surf, as I did at Pipe this year, which is where I feel most comfortable. Having to compete in very average conditions has always been a real problem for me.
People (like Nic von Rupp) try to write deep n’ meaningful arty statements on their boards. Yours are plain. But if you had to write something…?
Stop the bullshit and live.