Stab Magazine | Now... This: Ryan Callinan Answers A Handful Of Noteworthy And Innocuous Questions

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Now… This: Ryan Callinan Answers A Handful Of Noteworthy And Innocuous Questions

On location for the Triple Crown, RC talks about the Olympics, G-Land, and why he thinks wavepools have a place on the World Tour.

style // Nov 12, 2019
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Ryan Callinan is one of Stab’s favourite surfers. From his surfing displays down to his ceaseless affability, Ryan is a surfer, and overall a person who we can’t help but love. This is why we’re pleased Ryan is sitting pretty for CT re-qualification and in with a shot of making the Olympic team as he sits in third (for the Aussies) behind Owen Wright and Julian Wilson on the rankings. 

Currently, Ryan is on location in Hawaii prepping for the Triple Crown and a much anticipated return to Pipe as a fully fledged CT surfer. After a morning surf or two, and with only a three hour gap between Sydney and Oahu, we got Ryan on the line to talk about what’s happened this past week in the global surf sphere, as well as a number of innocuous Qs on his favourite surfers, books, and favourite non-ocean-centric hobby. 

Below is this weeks Now… This interview with Mr. Ryan Callinan. I have removed most of my rambling for your reading pleasure. 


Ryan post-tube in Tahiti a few months ago.



Stab: Ryan, how are you man? How’s the waves over there?

Ryan: Pretty fun today actually, bit bigger than yesterday, it’s three to four foot Australian, so like two foot Hawaiian [laughs]. I don’t know whether I’ve just been timing it good but the crowds have been pretty mellow too. Surfed Rocky lefts last night by myself actually, it wasn’t good, but there was no one out. 

You’re over there pretty early, assuming you’re doing the Triple Crown?

Yep, doing the Triple Crown.

Haleiwa starts soon right, next week?

Starts Wednesday actually. 

I guess the pressure is off a little considering you don’t have re-qualification worries.

Exactly, it’ll be a much more relaxing season than some of my previous ones. It’s nice to be here when you’re not stressed out [laughs].

Well you do have to get past Julian on the rankings to make the Olympics, so you should be stressed about that…

[laughs] that’s true.

And you should try to win Pipe… I should probably ask you some actual questions.

I guess the first one, did you hear much, or know much about what is happening with the Billabong hack?

I didn’t read into it, but I rang someone from Billabong the other day to get some gear from the Metallica range and they said all the computers were down so it couldn’t be shipped. That’s all I’ve really heard though. 

It sounds crazy, it seemed like things might be back in order this week, so hopefully that’s the case.

Yeah it’s a pretty massive deal. 

Here’s something a bit nicer. G-Land is now confirmed for next year, surely you’re psyched?!

Very very excited! I’ve never been, it’s uncharted territory for me, but from all the accounts I’ve heard it is sick. Obviously having another left on tour for me is great being a goofy and all. 

Hopefully I get to do a strike mission over there beforehand. 

In a way it sort of replaces Cloudbreak, it is a shame to see Keramas go though.

I think Keramas is a great stop for the tour, but G-Land looks like, if it turns on, it will be one of the best events on the tour. 

I think there’s a few sections out there, depending on the tides and the swell different sections work under different conditions – I think they’ll be able to move up and down depending on the conditions. Hopefully we get a big swell of course and it pumps.

R Cal Sam Moody

A photo from a shoot which accompanied our in depth interview with Ryan back in May.


Sam Moody

Someone in the comments last week told me to ask about boards, so what did you bring over to Hawaii?

I have a couple of everything, I have 14 boards over here in total.

I have a bunch of 6’1″s, nothing smaller than that because of the power over here, a few 6’2″s and then mostly couples all the way up to 6’10”. Even last year though when Pipe was massive I only rode a 6’6″ and the huge days at Sunset where it was closing out the channel I only rode a 6’8″. 

The boards people ride just seem to be getting shorter and shorter every year over here. I still feel as if I ride quite long boards compared to most people. I was actually speaking to [Richard] Dog [Marsh] the other day and he was saying when he came years ago he brought nothing under a 6’8″ and everyone at Sunset was usually on something around an 8’0″.

I can envision Kelly paddling out on a 5’4″ at Pipe this year. 

Those guys that know the wave well, like Jamie O can seemingly ride anything out there. 

Who’s your favourite male surfer right now? Can be anyone, tour, no tour, someone that psyches you up when watching them. 

Umm, geez there was some good clips that have come out these last few weeks. I kept watching them all on repeat.

I really enjoyed Creed’s, but then Noa’s and Ian Crane’s were so sick as well. And Russ’ clip, it was so different to what would normally psych me up to surf but Russ is honestly phenomenal. Overall though I’ve really been psyched on that Creed clip. 

I haven’t seen Creed surfing for a while so it was sick to see he’s still one of the best. It feels like he’s been a little bit underground, but that clip he released was epic. 

He’s back and with a completely shaved head.

I actually kinda back it!

As do I, I’m just jealous I can’t pull it off. 

I need to mention Julian as well actually, I get excited to watch Julian surf regardless of whether they’re his clips, heats, or just surfing with him. His style, poise, and control is really impressive. Also, I’ve been surfing with Craig a bit at home and he’s been getting me pretty psyched – he always looks so pretty on a wave. And then Gabi’s heats are always exciting…

You’re really been too nice, you love everyone, you need to chop someone down… 

What about the women?

Caroline is my favourite. She’s gnarly! It could be the goofy thing actually [laughs]. 

Are you taking tips off her yet?

I actually did ask her something in Portugal and she giggled and paddled off. She wasn’t dishing out that secret.

Carissa has been really amazing this year too, and then Steph is obviously the best of all time, she is always pleasing to watch surfing. 

Let’s get into the title scenario then, both the men’s and women’s are really tightly stacked. Who would be your pick for the men?

Portugal just opened it right up for the men’s. I’m leaning towards Gabs, even though he’s behind Italo. He’s going to be so fired up after what happened and I feel like he’ll almost be seeking revenge on the system [laughs]. He’s so dangerous when he’s coming from behind, he’s so hungry for the win. 

I’m not counting out Italo either, but he hasn’t been in this sort of position coming into Pipe before – in the yellow jersey – it’ll be a lot of pressure. Gabs on the other hand has been in this position a number of times and is going to come prepared. 

One of them could potentially draw John around the quarters as well. He’s signed up for the Triple Crown events so we’ll get to see how he’s surfing in a few days – he’ll probably just win the whole thing [laughs]. 

Do you have a pick for the women?

I’m going to have to go Carissa. She looked so comfortable and happy in Portugal. For what was going on she seemed relaxed and I can’t see her losing. 

Who’s your favourite grom?  

I surfed with Jai Glindeman the other day, he’s phenomenal. For such a young kid he’s really precise and has a good style. 

[laughs] literally everyone person we’ve interviewed for this has said Jai… the kid rips. 

Alright, what do you think about the Olympics?

I honestly think it’s sick. I’m keen to see how it goes. I am curious though as to how the formatting will work, and obviously there’s problems with the wave quality. The Olympics is such a structured, pre-planned event, and surfing isn’t like that at all. It’s very sporadic and nobody really knows what’s going to happen in advance.

Even if you’re supposedly locked in for the next day with a great forecast, the swell might not arrive, or the wind is suss and it doesn’t run. 

You’ll have to get above Julian in the rankings to make it right?

Yep he’s 11th and I’m 12th, but he’s still about 2,000 points ahead of me which means I’ll need to make an additional two heats to him. He’s alright at Pipe too…

Yeah he’s only a Pipe Master, I wouldn’t worry.

[laughs] or maybe we’ll both make the final and overtake Owen. 


It’s not Pipe, but Ryan goes alright in lefthand tubs.



What are your thoughts on wavepools, in particular comps in pools? I was under the impression the ranch wouldn’t return for 2020, but I was wrong as per usual.

I also heard that rumour so you’re not alone… but as a competitor I found the event pretty sick. Look, there’s definitely negatives, but to see everyone in the same boat – you can’t surf at all until your waves, you have a set number, it’s all scheduled – makes it interesting. It’s a completely different psychological playing field and it’s completely different to anything we’ve seen in surfing competition before.

It’s not super exciting to watch when you’re streaming – it is when you’re actually there – but if a slightly different approach was taken it could be sick.

I also think with the whole wavepool era upon us it’s inevitable that there is going to be comps in them. So I definitely think there’s a spot for it.

Okay, that’s enough surfing talk. Favourite hobby that isn’t surfing?

I’ve been quite into my photography.

I’ve seen that on your Instagram! What camera are you running?

It’s a film camera…


[laughs] of course. It’s a Pentax K-1000. It isn’t so much the ‘film look’ I’m going for, I enjoy shooting film more because of the process. You have to slow everything down, take the picture, then you have no idea what it looks like – I also try and limit myself to one single shot of a scene – then there’s the anticipation of getting it back. 

I still get the prints as well. It’s another way to relive wherever I’ve been and I enjoy it much more than having all my photos in a digital format. 

Other than that I don’t really do that much… I surf a lot [laughs].

How many times have you surfed today?


Ha! I wrote the intro before I called and just assumed twice, I know you’re keen.

I guess, I’ve been reading a lot as well actually.

That was my next question, best book you’ve read this year?

I’m reading a novel at the moment called Shantaram. It’s about a guy who escaped an Indian prison and while I’m not far in it’s great so far. I saw it at my aunty’s house and because I’d had it recommended so often I just took it [laughs]. 

It’s massive too, it’s about 1000 pages long.

How far in are you?

About 100 pages. 

[laughs] that’s alright! It’s daunting starting a book that long. 

I also listened to one on Audible recently called Hippie by Paulo Coelho and before that one called Zen and the art of Archery…

I was sure you were going to say ‘motorcycle maintenance’, that’s a sick book. 

That one’s incredible. I read that a while ago and loved it. 

What’s this archery one then?

It’s about a philosophy teacher who moves to Tokyo and takes up archery as a form of zen. It’s quite a short book, only 50 pages, but I’d recommend it.

I’ll have to add it to the list.

Last question. Favourite album or band at the moment?

I’m a huge fan of Gang Of Youths’ Go Farther In Lightness. Also listened to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon all the way through for the first time recently that’s pretty incredible. Back Queens Of The Stone Age and I’ve been listening to a fair bit of Tame Impala’s Currents according to my Spotify right now

I’ll let you go and get that third surf in before I come up with another question.

Sorry for the delay in getting this one live. After speaking to Ryan this morning I was so infected by his positivity I dusted off my own board and caught three waves before getting the shits with the crowd and going in.

God bless surfing!


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