Kobi Clements Wants To Be An Octopus

6 Feb 2013 0 2,096 VIEWS

From The Pages of Surfing World

Story Lucas Townsend

Gallery by Mark Onorati

He’s only eight years old and hasn’t even started year two at primary school. He still plays with Lego in his room and his favourite animal is an octopus. He loves them so much if he was transformed into any creature one day, he’d want to be one. “I could have eight legs and live underwater and be able to squeeze into tiny holes, it’d be cool,” he explains. His favourite surfer is John John Florence and he loves pancakes with maple syrup drizzled on top. He’s got a cubby house that his granddad made and he likes to play with his older brother, Ethan. Kobi Clements is just like any other kid, really.

« 1 of 15 »

On a bluebird morning in the North Narrabeen carpark, Kobi gingerly offers out his tiny hand to say hello. As I shake his hand it’s impossible not to notice his sapphire eyes, even under the raggedy hair that flows beyond his shoulders. He’s shy and quickly scampers off, running circles on the grass, away from the centre of attention. His dad, former-pro Steve Clements, sweeps him up and into his wetsuit. Steve opens the passenger door of his white Ford wagon and pulls out a 4’4’’ by James “Chilli” Cheal that resembles more a cuttlefish bone than a surfboard. Kobi likes the black and white Volcom sticker on the nose but even more so, Steve tells me, the joy of putting it there himself. The connotations of it are irrelevant for now. “I want him to love them just because they’re stickers for as long possible,” says Steve.

There’s sound grounding in Steve and his wife, Sophie. Steve’s done the whole pro-thing before and doesn’t see much point in over frothing. “If Kobi’s got a career on Tour ahead of him, that’s 20 years of competing,” says Steve. “There’s no hurry.” Kobi’s had a handful of starts in competition, mainly the annual BL Blast Off. But it’s not just talent that makes this kid different. Thanks to Kobi’s mum, he speaks fluent French and attends a bilingual school. Kobi says there’s loads of homework but he doesn’t mind and in a well-versed tongue he says, “Bonjour Luca, comment allez-vous?” with a cheeky I-told-you-so smile.

Out in the water at Carpark, a light onshore wind blows as two-foot peaks climb up on a shallow bank. Steve is on the beach. He can’t surf since his appendix decided to shutdown. Kobi’s practicing riding barrels but with the waves standing fast and running quickly, his wafer-thin arms can’t generate the speed he needs to hook in under the lip. Steve asks if I can give him a push just before he takes off. I oblige but Kobi’s got other ideas. His confidence is frightening. He darts back and forth across the small take-off zone, pulling back from closeouts and swooping into the ones with a makeable shoulder giving peace signs to swimming photographer Mark Onorati. He throws whatever weight he’s got onto rail and tries airs on jabbing sections. The way he reads the ocean and his wave selection are beyond his years but the coolest thing is what a blast he’s having.

Back in the carpark, Steve and Kobi have to hurry. He’s got a school holiday surf camp to get to at Long Reef, another three hours or so in the water. But Steve spots a familiar face. “Kobi, come over here,” Steve says. Kobi sprints over, half following Dad but also trying to get his pint-sized body warm. Kobi puts out his hand again. “Kobi, this is Terry Fitzgerald.” Kobi replies with a soft hello and a grown-up handshake. Terry’s heard about him, acknowledging the beginning of another cycle of Narrabeen’s next. Meanwhile, the gravity of the meeting sweeps completely over Kobi’s young head. Kobi will surf Narrabeen for the next 10 years at least. He’ll move from playful Carpark to the North Narrabeen peak. TF will become an even bigger figure than this exchange. But for now, this is just another moment of uncomplicated bliss right on the edge of change.


Click here to subscribe to Surfing World or buy back issues

Tags: Kobi Clements, mona, vale, narrabeen, warriewood, northern, beaches, nsw (create Alert from these tags)

blog comments powered by Disqus
Features
Gallery: Life's a Beach Photo Competition So Far

Gallery: Life's a Beach Photo Competition So Far

Get inspired to win awesome prizes!

0 4 Mar 2015
Steph Gilmore Almost Lost The 2015 Title Today, Then Didn't – Sean Doherty On...

Steph Gilmore Almost Lost The 2015 Title Today, Then Didn't – Sean Doherty On...

Perfect Lives – Day 2 of The Roxy Pro Gold Coast, 2015

2 3 Mar 2015
Video: The Women of The Roxy Pro Are Absolutely Ripping The Freesurf Sessions At Snapper

Video: The Women of The Roxy Pro Are Absolutely Ripping The Freesurf Sessions At Snapper

Standout Sessions: Live Fast Die Young, Bad GIrls Do It Well

2 2 Mar 2015
Recent

Gallery: Sur Fart – Serious Experiments In Surf Cartoonery by Nanda Ormond – Coolangatta, Saturday 28th

The incredible art of Surfing World's last four years, on show.

0 3 Mar 2015
Contiki presents Surfrider Foundation Beach Clean-up Tour

Contiki presents Surfrider Foundation Beach Clean-up Tour

0 2 Mar 2015
World's Best Light Up Snapper Rocks For Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Round 1

World's Best Light Up Snapper Rocks For Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Round 1

0 2 Mar 2015
Desert2Surf and PrizeAid 2015 Fundraising Campaign

Desert2Surf and PrizeAid 2015 Fundraising Campaign

0 26 Feb 2015
Video: Josh Kerr Now Rides For Raen

Video: Josh Kerr Now Rides For Raen

0 25 Feb 2015
Latest News

Contiki presents Surfrider Foundation Beach Clean-up Tour

A beach clean-up tour to Sydney’s Northern Beaches from Palm Beach to Manly in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of single use plastics on our marine environments.

Desert2Surf and PrizeAid 2015 Fundraising Campaign

'The more you give the more you get back! That's the motto of the new fundraising campaign that sees Desert2Surf teaming up with Coastal Watch, Neon Tide, Global Surf Industries and SeaEarth Adventures!

Video: Josh Kerr Now Rides For Raen

And a beautiful True Detective looking clip to go with it.

Popular This Week

Pumping Gold Coast, The Drop-In of The Year, & The Dawn of The WSL – This Week In Surfing

Ten Things From Surfing and The Internet On The Week That Was February 27, 2015

Video: John John, Kolohe, Mick & More of The World's Best Warm-up At Snapper

Standout Sessions: You have to see how strong Kolohe is surfing.

Video: So This Was Kirra This Morning (Lots and Lots of Barrels!)

Standout Sessions: Nathan Hedge's is something else – February 23, 2015

Weekend Surf Forecast 27 February - 1 March 2015

Autumn is upon us. Check out the weekend forecast.

Go to Top