Stab Magazine | A brief conversation with Ryan Callinan
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A brief conversation with Ryan Callinan

The qualifying tour just landed at Newcastle’s Merewether Beach for Surfest. The marquee mens event is a six-star called the Burton Toyota Pro and there’s some big names in the draw this year, like Joel Parkinson, who’s using it as his warm-up instead of the Burleigh Breaka Pro. Ryan Callinan is competing, but unlike anyone else in […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The qualifying tour just landed at Newcastle’s Merewether Beach for Surfest. The marquee mens event is a six-star called the Burton Toyota Pro and there’s some big names in the draw this year, like Joel Parkinson, who’s using it as his warm-up instead of the Burleigh Breaka Pro. Ryan Callinan is competing, but unlike anyone else in the event he has the pleasure of being able to stroll out of his front door and walk 100 metres to the contest site, where he grew up polishing his hucks and wraps. Ryan was riding in a car with Craig Anderson when Stab lit up his phone, and his voice hummed with hometown relaxation.

Stab: What do you dig about an event at your home break?
Ryan: I get to sleep at my house, have my family around, mum cooks me meals and stuff. I can just walk down to the beach, watch some heats, get ready. It’s all super easy, no hassles and I don’t have to worry about anything like cars or accommodation. That’s the best part. The worst is that I haven’t even surfed out at Rocks, just ’cause every time I look at it there’s 50 guys out there.

What’s it like watching people try to learn a spot you know so well? It’s very interesting, even when you go stand and watch with local guys who surf there every day. You’re watching guys surfing heats, thinking ‘fuck! If he knew how to surf this place he could be getting eights so easy!’ Especially ’cause they’re judging wave selection really high. Knowing which ones to pick makes it that much easier. It’s really easy to sit too deep, people are pushing each other too deep, bottom turning too far out in the flats and losing all their speed, things like that.

Do you get strangely embarrassed when the waves are shit? Not really, no. Everyone’s like “this place sucks” and I’m just like, ok, sweet. I don’t care much ’cause I know it gets good. I have fun here even when it is bad, but it’s fine that everyone writes it off ’cause they won’t come back for any surf trips (laughs).

Is your house a hotel? I had a few people hitting me up to stay but I knocked them all back, ’cause I wanna focus this year and have a year off playing the host.

Are you trying to qualify this year or just freesurfing? I’m kinda doing a bit of both. I actually have a fair bit of time off between events, with plenty of time for trips. Yes, I’m theoretically doing enough events to qualify, but it’d be hard because I can’t get into the Primes. If I won some six stars it’d be enough, for sure. I really want to qualify. It is good experience but I’m pushing pretty hard to actually do well and put myself into a good position. Six stars take the top 150 and Primes are the top 100. So if you get some results in the six stars, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get in the primes. You need a little rating to start. I think I’m 230. I’ll just keep at it.

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