10 Waves, 10 Questions: Callum Robson Don't Kiss & Tell - Stab Mag
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10 Waves, 10 Questions: Callum Robson Don’t Kiss & Tell

Let’s get to know the CT’s youngest qualifier.

cinema // Jan 25, 2022
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Callum Robson finished eighth place on the Challenger Series this season. Of all the 21’ CS qualifiers, Callum’s name was perhaps the least known of the bunch, and for understandable reasons — Callum qualified his first year from relative obscurity, after a much shorter competitive career span than most of his peers. 

Cal first perked ears after his win at the Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro following a commanding win over Parko’s nephew and good buddy, Mitch Parkinson. After sealing his spot on the CS, Cal strung together a 5th at the US Open, a 9th in Portugal, a 17th in France, and a 7th at Haleiwa. 

Not bad for a first run on the CS. 

Cal is the youngest male CT qualifier in 21’, the youngest male surfer on tour, the first surfer from Evans Head to make the CT, and the proprietor of the CT’s biggest set of quadriceps since losing Michel Bourez last season. 

Callum started surfing late. He played footy competitively until he was 15, and the school he went to, Woodlawn High School, was an hour and forty-five minutes away from Evans, which left little time for surfing before or after school.

Callum goes through stages of things. Whether it’s fishing, golf, or surfing, he immerses himself and commits a lot of time and attention. Callum eventually left Woodlawn to pursue a carpentry and builders apprenticeship, before deciding to work at Surfing Australia’s High Performance Centre as a surf coach helping support the next generation of grommets.

Bad day to be a lip. Photo by WSL

Cal’s got blue-collar grit and a farmer’s work ethic. He’s not some coddled trophy kid who grew up with major sponsors paying masseuses to rub out his boo-boos. But there’s also no chip on his shoulder — in fact, he struggled to identify a single low point in the course of the past year, but that doesn’t mean Callum doesn’t have a point to prove. 

The Australian contingent that qualified this year featured a number of battlers doing the CS on a shoestring. “I feel like we’ve got a bit of the mongrel back in us compared to previous years. We’re down there supporting each other. None of us are on crazy big contracts or anything like that, so we’re staying together, bunking down, cooking meals, I feel it’s kind of like what the old school gen did,” says Cal.

Chicken dinner. Photo by WSL.

Since Cal qualified for the CT, he no longer has a major sponsor. Opting to part ways with the Gold Coast native Mad Hueys, Callum is looking for a label with the globalized team and infrastructure to really help him develop. At Pipe, his nose will be naked, (unless someone capitalises on this fantastic timing opportunity), and he’ll be leaning on his performances there to really make a statement.

Callum made his goals for this season perfectly clear. Make the mid-season cut, rinse Medina (which is no longer an option), and get a feel for surfing against the world’s best. With a minimum prize purse of $8,000 USD for a 33rd place finish, Callum can expect to make at least $40,000USD in prize money before the mid-season cutoff — enough of a buffer to lay off the tools and dedicate his laser focus to burying rail and cracking lips. 

With Morgan’s rookie debut blitz catching everyone off guard, the precedent for a rookie to reach WSL Finals day has already been set. Are we likely to see a rookie competing at Lowers again? Probs not, but stranger things have happened. 

Pipe starts in a few days, meaning the world will soon get to see how the new folks fare against the world’s best…at the world’s deadliest wave. 

“Pipe and Evans are pretty similar,” laughs Cal. “I’ll be ready.”

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