Stars' Cars - Ironwoman Jordan Mercer
BUILT tough. It's as if the words were made for Sunshine Coast ironwoman Jordan Mercer.
Still only 21, the athlete they like to call "Magic" is already an endurance sport legend, having turned ironwoman professional at age 16 and winning five straight World Paddleboard Championship titles.
That means paddling over 52km across the Molokai Channel in Hawaii in a race lasting over six hours... makes your morning beach jog seem a bit soft, doesn't it?
She doesn't mind a quick turn of speed on the road as well, but most important is a decent sized car to haul all her competition equipment around.
We challenged Jordan to answer our searching motoring questions on the eve of the Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series opener at Coolum Beach, where she scored her maiden victory.
What was your first car?
It was a Holden Captiva manual that I was given for my 18th birthday. I'm lucky enough to have the support of the Madill Motor Group in Noosa and they organised the car for me. It was love at first sight and I had it for about three years. I was adamant to get a manual, which was tough as my family only had automatics, but I really wanted to be able to drive manuals.
What are you driving now?
Madill's has given me a Honda CR-V SUV which is perfect for my life really. I'm not the kindest to my cars as they have a tough time living by the ocean and having a paddleboard and ocean ski strapped on top.
The CR-V's great for buzzing around town and takes all the toys in the back - surfboard, hand spear, goggles, training gear. And it's often a taxi for my training crew as well.
What cars did your family have while you were growing up?
A Holden Astra that's still going strong today. While dad (Darren Mercer) always had 4WDs with a trailer and all the Noosa Heads surf gear on the back.
Have you a favourite stretch of driving road?
On the Sunshine Coast there's a coastal road between Noosa and Peregian Beach that is beautiful. The Sunshine Coast hinterland is also an incredible escape with the best views, or I can get on the beach to the North Shore and Double Island Point.
Driving in places like Hawaii, Peru and Nicaragua is absolutely mind blowing, and riding the motorbikes in Bali, I just love it.
Any accidents or police run-ins in your driving career?
I've got perfect points and never had an accident. Unless you include the ox towing a cart I was on at a beach in Nicaragua for the paddleboard championships. It kicked me pretty hard when I was standing beside it.
Do you have any preferred driving music?
I love driving with music as it's one of the few times and places I get to have alone time and chill-out time. I put my favourite play list on - I do love my country music - and I'm able to yell out when I'm on my own along to the songs.
If you were to pick anyone in the world to go on a road trip, who would it be and why?
My family would be best - boyfriend, sister, mum and dad are just so entertaining on the road, we're a freak show without the tent. Or I'd take good friends from the surf club with some surfboards, guitars and good music.
What would be your dream car if money were no object?
I love the VW Kombi; I look at them and just smile so it would be my dream car. I've a soft spot for older cars, their style and individuality make me really happy.
Who: Jordan Mercer.
Born: December 2, 1993, Woolongong, NSW.
Resume: Daughter of ironman champion Darren Mercer, sporting genes and incredible dedication have helped Jordan become one of the most talented, respected and loved surf ironwomen in Australia. Moved to the Sunshine Coast as a five-year-old and became a gymnastics, athletics and surf lifesaving prodigy. Turned professional Ironwoman in 2009 at age 16 with numerous podiums to her name and her first win in the 2015/16 Nutri-Grain Series at Coolum Beach. In 2011 she achieved global attention by becoming the youngest winner of the 52km Molokai 2 Oahu paddle race while still in Year 12 at Sunshine Coast Grammar. This year Jordan scored her fifth straight Molokai World Paddleboard title, cementing her place alongside Australia's finest endurance athletes.