Stab Magazine | Ryan Callinan ain't a one-trick pony

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Ryan Callinan ain’t a one-trick pony

With the standout trick (and part) in Billabong’s recently-released Blow Up, the cover of Surfing mag’s latest ish (same trick) and a cameo in Kai Neville’s new film, Lost Atlas (same trick again, thanks), y’could say the backside air-revs Ryan Callinan landed in the Mentawai’s earlier this year was career-changing. Ever-intrigued by the unpredictability of this surfing game and the beauty […]

news // Feb 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

With the standout trick (and part) in Billabong’s recently-released Blow Up, the cover of Surfing mag’s latest ish (same trick) and a cameo in Kai Neville’s new film, Lost Atlas (same trick again, thanks), y’could say the backside

air-revs Ryan Callinan landed in the Mentawai’s earlier this year was career-changing. Ever-intrigued by the unpredictability of this surfing game and the beauty of elevation to fame, Stab rang Ryan to find out how life’s been since he landed on his back in the foam of that one wave.

Stab: So, from your end, do you feel like the amount of exposure you’ve been getting has changed since you landed that loony backside throw? 
Ryan: Yep, definitely. It seems that over the last couple of years, each year I’ve had one thing, one turn that I’ve done, that’s gotten a heap of exposure. This one’s definitely been the biggest one though, everyone’s starting to notice me a little more now. Kai Neville using it in his movie (Lost Atlas), then Billabong putting it in their film (Blow Up), then I got the cover of Surfing Magazine – it’s been really good, exposure-wise.

What were the other moves you’ve felt that way about in the past?That thing that was a bit like the Flynnstone flip in Hawaii, that was definitely the one from last year, then there was a finner from the year before that, and it wasn’t even that good (laughs). I mean, it was good at the time. But I try to keep evolving and it seems like each time the thing I do gets weirder. So hopefully next one will be something even crazier.

Is this going to be a turning point in your career? I hope so! It seems like that section in Blow Up put my name out there a bit, which is good. I think it’s definitely a turning point. Hopefully people like Kai will wanna put me in their movies more or something.

Is it like you’re on the outer rim for so long, then it takes something like this to really blast through? Yeah, for sure. I’ve grown up with Craig (Anderson) and watched him – even for him it was kinda similar. Not really with one move, but he had that small part in Modern Collective and it just boosted him so much. So I’ve kinda just been waiting for my time, I guess. I dunno whether it’s come yet, but it feels like I’ve been on the outskirts for a bit and now I’m starting to get let in.

At the time, did you realise how special the move was? Not at that very moment, no. I thought it was a flat spin, spun a bit more and landed laying-back. I was paddling back out and (Surfing photog) Jimmy Wilson and Victor (Pakpour, Billy filmer) were like “Crap, did you make that?” I was like, yeah, and they were like “Oh God, that was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen!” I didn’t really think it was that gnarly. I did another air later that surf, and I was like (excitedly) Oh, how’d that one look? And they were just like (in mock disinterest) “Which one?” I was just like, oh, like it was nothing (laughs). I thought it had felt the exact same as the first one.

Was it planned, like, “I’m gonna go for this super-corked thing”? I sorta just went for a Hail Mary. I didn’t realise, but I’d kinda been trying them a fair bit. Then that one just came together. When I watched the footage it looked way bigger than I thought. I tried another and realised getting the rotation consistently was actually do-able. It’s the landing part that you kinda gotta fluke, where you land on the wave to push you back up.

Is it scary that you could be painted as a one-trick wonder? Oh, f’sure. I think about it all the time. Like, I’m gonna get on another trip and I won’t be able to do as much or do something as gnarly. I am a bit worried about that. So I’ll just try doing different things and try to keep improving I guess, or make sure I do something better.

Is it like winning the lotto, cheating on a test, or somewhere in between? I guess it’s somewhere in between. Winning the lotto’s a pretty big thing. I guess it’s kinda like cheating in a test but without the negative connotation – just changing one thing and you’re there. It’s weird that it’s so easy to do one thing and put yourself on the map. I guess Flynn (Novak) did it with his flip as well. No one really knew about him then he does a backflip and everyone’s like, “Oh, he’s that guy that can do backflips.” It’s kinda been similar with me I guess, I’ve been going along ok but no one’s really noticed, then I did this one thing and it’s like, oh, who’s this kid?

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