Stab Magazine | Will Griffin Colapinto Win California A Long Awaited World Title?

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Will Griffin Colapinto Win California A Long Awaited World Title?

His new film “Volume III” is suggestive. 

cinema // Feb 21, 2019
Words by Morgan Williamson
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Nothing can be done without confidence, and optimism leads to achievement. Griffin Colapinto has both, and right now, he’s one of California’s great hopes for a World Title in the upcoming years.

During the first event of Griffin’s rookie season, he took anyone’s doubt and extinguished it like a cigarette in the sea. He sliced his way into the semifinals, putting up a triple tube at Kirra (for a ten) that got more double taps on Insta than tan, wet asses caked in sand. He would go onto finish 18th overall in the season. With a few successes, Mr. Colapinto also felt the vast learning curve that pushes many rookies back to the QS following their first year on tour.

Griff is different from the traditional California slack. He spends endless hours in the water. He studies his surfing, isn’t afraid to locate his flaws. He is focused on sorting out every aspect of his craft – from headspace to a backhand that he feels is too weak. A backhand he’s attempting to strengthen via going (almost) strictly left at Lowers and revisiting old Occy clips.

His approach to waves waist high and overhead to double overhead remain the same. There’s a fierceness in his surfing that flicks with his tail. No section goes unmaimed, and if there’s a lip with tube-potential, he swings.

Will Griffin win a World Title? That remains to be seen. However, the way he surfs quite large Sunset like it’s a San Clemente beachbreak in the above clip is suggestive.

It’s hopeful.

We spoke with Griffin about what he’s doing to prep for the upcoming season, and what he learned competitively in 2018. Dip into our conversation below:

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“Towards the end of the year, I started to fall apart a bit.”

Stab: At your first event at Snapper, you ended up in the semis with arguably the best tube we saw all year. How was your headspace prior to the event?

Griffin: It was a weird feeling. It was such a big contest set up and there were so many people on the beach watching. I just enjoyed every bit of it. I wasn’t scared to lose I was just happy to be out there.

After you made the semis and got that triple tube for a ten, did it give you a boost of confidence, like where you felt you really belong on the CT?

At the time it didn’t feel as significant as it does looking back. Like now, I think, Holy shit, I can’t believe I pulled that off at my first event.

But at the time I was like, Oh sick, I made the semis [laughs].

After your rookie season, what were your biggest successes?

Making the semis at Snapper and getting that ten at Kirra. Then in Bali I had that heat against Wilko where I came back in the last five minutes needing an eight and got an eight five with a full rotation. Then at J-Bay, I got a 9.6 – those were probably the three biggest moments that stick out.

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“If I can get that to the point where I’m completely confident in it, then I think I can go for a World Title.”

How about your biggest failures?

There’s not like one particular instance I can think of. But, towards the end of the year, I started to fall apart a bit. There were some spots that I didn’t have much experience at, and by the end of the season, I would get nervous in heats. I’d get too far ahead of myself and not land stuff and surf worse.

Nervous how? Are there certain guys that wig you out pre-heat?

It’s weird. For me, I would get nervous when I was surfing against someone that was easier to beat. When I think I’m a better surfer than my opponent I get tripped out and think, Oh fuck, it would suck if I lost to this guy. And when I start to think that, that’s when I blow it [Laughs].

Who would that be?

[Laughs] I don’t wanna call anyone out. That’d be kind of gnarly. I can’t do it!

How are you feeling versus the Gabriels, Italos, Johns, Joels, Julians, and, well, you get the picture…

If I’m surfing against one of the best guys I’ll just surf my hardest. And, when I surf my hardest that’s when I’m in my best zone. My land rate goes up and it feels more free. When I try and surf safe against guys I feel like I’m better than I end up losing. Like, most of the heats I lost last year were heats I think I should have won and I just approached them wrong.

It’s cool though. I’m working on that, and once I figure it out, it’ll change my whole deal.

Who has helped you the most on tour?

Jake the Snake [Paterson], my coach. He’s helped a lot. He has a lot of good experience. I feel like I’m pretty good at analyzing myself. If I have a weak spot I can find that and not get rattled about it. I try to be my own coach most of the time.

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“I would get nervous when I was surfing against someone that was easier to beat. When I think I’m a better surfer than my opponent I get tripped out and think, Oh fuck, it would suck if I lost to this guy.”

What are your biggest weaknesses?

I think my backside. I’m working a lot on that right now. If I can get that to the point where I’m completely confident in it, then I think I can go for a World Title.

More lefts?

Yeah, the other day I went down to Lowers and surfed for four hours and only went right once [Laughs].

Whose surfing is inspiring you right now?

Joel [Parko] and Ethan Ewing. I love the lines Joel and Ethan draw to get their speed. I think they surf and turn in different parts of the wave than most people. I’ve also been watching a lot of Occy clips lately because I want to improve my backside and his is the best ever. There’s this one Occy tribute clip the Billabong made, it’s four minutes long and I’ve been watching it over and over on Youtube. The way Occy gets his speed is all through his hips, so I’m just trying to learn how to use my hips in the right way.

Who to watch out of the upcoming rookies?

Seth Moniz could do really well. A lot of the guys who qualified have already been on tour though. Soli Bailey charges, he could do good at Teahupoo and stuff. But Seth is for sure the most well-rounded rookie coming in.

Have you been riding any different boards? Or sticking to high-performance thrusters?

I’ve been riding some fun boards, for sure. If I’ve been surfing a bunch on my thruster and I need a break from that, I’ll ride one of Mayhem’s Assyms, and then I have a Mark Richards/Mayhem collab fish that I like to ride. I really dig the assym, it’s got good drive for sure. They’re so fun to ride on your front side.

What’s a successful 2019 look like to you?

I want to qualify for the Olympics, so I got to get top two out of the Americans on tour. Then, I want to be top ten on tour this year.

Who is going to be the toughest competition in the CT to make the US Olympic team?

John John will obviously be a front runner, it’ll be interesting how he’s doing with his knee. But him, Brother, Seabass, Conner, Zeke…. There are definitely a lot of us who will be fighting for it.

But it won’t be as gnarly of a fight as it will be between, Italo, Gabriel and Filipe for Brazil. All those guys are so good and one will end up getting clipped out of there if they’re only taking the top two guys from each county on the CT.

What are you going to change as far as your approach goes on tour this year?

I’ve been working a lot on the mental side of things. I’m trying to keep from getting ahead of myself and staying in the day. I have a daily meditation program that I’ve been working on. I’m feeling pretty good right now, trying to get rid of the Yo-Yo, up and down thing and be happy.

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