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Putting the mongrel back in Aus surfing

Seven things we learned chatting with Callum Robson.

What we do know is Callum has been on an absolute tear this year, he is ranked eighth on the Championship Tour (CT), picked up a second-place at Bells and took out the challenger series event at the Gold Coast this week.

The 21-year old’s surfing is powerful and precise but what’s been arguably most impressive is his maturity level on his first year on the CT.

I spoke to Callum on his 2022 season so far, bringing back the Aussie mongrel to the CT, which surf brands are gunning for the space on his nose, who his favourite surfers are and more.

The focused CT rookie chose to only have one beer following the Gold Coast victory.

1. Callum is a part of the new surfing pack that’s bringing the “Aussie mongrel” back to the CT.

Australian surfing fans have been worried about the current talent on the men’s side of the CT. We have been at the top since the 80’s with MR, Tom Carroll and then had a glorious run with surfers like Mick Fanning and Parko. We are now in the era of the Brazilians and John John; an Aussie male has not won a world title since 2013.

However, this new generation of surfers like Callum, Ethan Ewing, Jack Robinson and Jackson Baker have ignited a new fire to the CT in 2022. It is evident that they’re stoked to be on tour and are hungry to win.
“I feel like we’ve gone through an era that people, I don’t know. … I feel like we’re bringing the mongrel back. Like I got nothing to lose and I’m just wanting to take as many big names as I can and just keep winning at all costs. Pretty much.”

(Photo by Beatriz Ryder/World Surf League)

2. Callum’s phone is ringing hot as potential sponsors line up to get involved

Even though the young gun is racking up plenty of prize money from competition. There has been an outcry in the surfing world of how Callum doesn’t have a sticker on his board.
I asked him if he has got any calls following his big win at Snapper,

“Yeah. I’ve had a few people reach out. Nothing set in stone yet. I’ll probably start dealing with that in the next few days and see what’s out there. But yeah, I got G-Land around the corner. So, I’m still focused on what I need to do to perform, and sponsors and stuff will come, I think I’m just going to let it happen organically”

3. The CT rookie will surf breaks for the first time having never surfed the locations he heads to on the backend of the 2022 tour

Callum has a big task in making the top five, he is competing at the next CT locations without any experience at the breaks. However, the clutch king seems excited for the challenges in which he calls opportunities.

“I haven’t been to any of the locations on the back half of the year. For me it’s all fresh, it’s all new and it will be good to see. I’m super excited to surf G-land, Teahupo’o, J Bay and El Salvador.  I think El Salvador is like a right-hand point which, I don’t know if it’s similar to Snapper, but I grew up surfing right hand points. So yeah, I’m excited to go over there and hopefully just lift a level of my performance”. He isn’t afraid of big waves though….

4. Joao Chianca is the most impressive surfer on the CT this year – Robson

This is not a unique perspective; Medina shared this thought too. It’s just quite ridiculous that one of the best regarded surfers on the CT this year, got kicked off.

“I think everybody knows how much has been ripping in those heats, I was actually in the heat overlapping with his pipe heat. Got to see him firsthand charging at Pipe which was pretty inspirational and was sick. So yeah, I think Joao obviously with the MYC it’s disappointing we don’t get to see the back half of the year, but I don’t doubt he’ll be back next year on the CT because he deserves to be there as his performance has shown”.

(Photo by Matt Dunbar/World Surf League)

5. His time coaching at Surfing Australia High Performance Centre gives him an edge over his competitors

Before Callum even thought about having a crack at the CT, he was coaching juniors for the Surfing Australia HPC. This could be a factor in his success and the notable maturity we have seen from him this year. As a former coach he has a better insight into what judges want and how to maintain a competitive edge.

“I started doing some stuff coaching that made me think a little bit deeper about everything and made me analyse everything through a different lens and trying to kind of dig a bit deeper into myself and my surfing”.

6. He is obsessed with the competitive aspect of surfing

We all know surfers that find competitive surfing as disrespectful to the ‘art’. Callum is the complete opposite to that.

“I’m more drawn towards like competitive performance guys, I like watching Medina a lot, I like watching Mick and the way he goes about things. Italo’s passion, I love how he goes at it balls to the wall approach, that kind of resonates with me and I just like anyone that just gives it their all”.

(Photo by Ed Sloane/World Surf League)

7.  It was a mindset shift that took him to become a top 10 CT surfer

Callum was a late bloomer, who came to attention of the surfing world following his qualification. It was a different journey to prodigies like Jack Robinson and Julian Wilson who were famous before getting on the CT.

When asked about what made him want to knuckle down and follow his dream.

“I think a shift in mindset, more so than anything, and just an openness, to have a crack and whatever happens, happens and letting go of a lot of like expectations and letting go of the pressure on will I make it a will or not?”.

Callum is running a fundraiser for those affected in the flood ravaged Northern Rivers. All proceeds raised will be given to the GIVIT charity and the Mid-Richmond Neighbourhood centre to get supplies to those who need it most. Prizes include a signed surfboard by all WSL 2022 tour surfers, full day of surf coaching with Callum at Surfing Australia HPC and more.

Click here to buy raffle tickets and find out more information.

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