Watch: Ryan Callinan In ‘Beneath A Pear Tree’ - Stab Mag
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Watch: Ryan Callinan In ‘Beneath A Pear Tree’

A new film and interview from the freakishly talented Novacastrian.

cinema // Jan 18, 2023
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 3 minutes

“I got married last year and the ceremony was on a hill in between a bunch of pear trees. For me it was a way to input that special moment of my life into a movie of mine and celebrate it in a small way”.

Ryan Callinan started last season with a string of 17ths and failed to make the mid-year cut. “I was pretty rattled after Margies, then Snapper didn’t go to plan. I feel like I do my best surfing under a bit of pressure, and there was plenty of that after the Gold Coast”. From Manly onwards Ryan started banking points, at the conclusion of the CS in Hale’iwa, he was second. Easily requalifying five months after falling off. 

“The main difference between the Challenger and the CT is just the level everyone is at. Everyone on the CT knows how to compete, and they’re all really, really good. The Challenger is stacked too, but you can get away with a few mistakes here and there. Sneak through heats. On the CT if you fuck up, guys just eat you alive.” 

The mid-year cut makes the CT season front loaded with pressure. It’s no coincidence that cut survivors unanimously decided on a Jungle blowout in G Land – remember that FOMO bush doof that saw half the CT and WSL management drinking tins from shoes? “The beauty of it is that no one sees themselves not making the cut until it’s crunch time,” Ryan laughs. 

The rollout of the mid-year cut created plenty of noise internally and from surf fans alike. There were threats to boycott the Margaret River event entirely after Bells and a petition with more than 29 signatories claimed E Lo’s dream for season-long ‘narrative arcs’ were less important than giving CT surfers a full-season to find their footing. “I get that it’s a business that needs legs and they need to find ways to grow. At times I think that can come at the expense of the surfers, but in the end ultimately their growth is better for us because they can do better events and provide more value for surfers.”

G Land and Cloudbreak vanishing from this season’s tour schedule is a flick in the dick though. Particularly for goofyfoots. “Yeah I wouldn’t mind going left a bit more,” says Ryan. The Jeep Ranch Pro collected the lowest viewership numbers of any event on the 2021 schedule, just quietly…

The last time Ryan released a film was in 2021 with ‘JustForNow’, and like this one, it’s near impossible to extract precise takeaways; the level from start to finish is too high and consistent. ‘Well-rounded’ feels like a cop out term, but there’s really not an area of Ryan’s surfing you can fault. Charges, good in tubes, gets inverted, immaculate frontside/backside.

Creed McTaggart yesterday said the following of him, “I just really, really like his surfing. I’ve never really watched the tour that much besides his heats. He’s a freak, and on top of that, he’s just a really good bloke too. He’s sort of underrated in the grand scheme of things – so he’s my number one pick for surfer of the year.” I’ll add, you don’t often hear top-shelf freesurfers singing CT surfers praises.

When Stab spoke with Ryan he was packing boards for Hawaii, where hopefully he takes some heads at Pipe in two weeks. Busy time of the year on the rock, but he’s snuck some practice on a Banzai doppelganger seen towards the end of this clip. Happy for Ryan, who seems like he’s in a really good place after the challenges he’s had to overcome in recent years.

Also, a very cute title.

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