Finalists, Picture – James Robinson / Surfing NSW 

Callum Robson: From Evans Head to the Bells Bowl

Published on 18/04/2022

Callum Robson has hit the big time after winning the little bell at the Rip Curl Bells Beach this weekend. The 21 year old from Evans Head (Halftide Boardriders) took down wildcard Mick Fanning with a shock win in the round of 16 making international headlines. His success continued in the defeat of Miguel Pupo then Jack Robinson and landed himself in the prestigious final on Easter Sunday against Filipe Toledo. 

The incredible results he earned have put home into a strong rankings place, sixth, ahead of the final event before mid-year cut-off, the Margaret River Pro.

Today Callum talks about paddling out into the iconic Bells bowl and walking up the staircase of champions. 

What was it like being in the bells final? Pretty incredible. It was certainly a life goal. The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is such an iconic event. It’s the longest running competition on the CT. I will definitely be coming back next year hungry to get that big Bell. 

How did you keep the nerves under control? 

There was nerves throughout the whole event, especially knowing the upcoming mid-year cut was approaching. I just focused on my breathing and all of the aspects of prep that I have control over, to enable me to be present in the moment. The beach was packed everyday which was incredible, it was amazing to have a competition on home soil and have all the Aussies cheering me on. Even more special to make a final with my family there.

You could feel the high emotions through the screen what was it like being there for real?

The emotions were extremely high throughout the whole event with the mid-year cut being in play, you could feel the intensity in the air during especially during the round of 32 where the points between 17th and 9th jump dramatically, that was a huge round for everyone.

How many times have you actually surfed bells in your life?

I’ve surfed Bells during a junior competition, it was at Jan Juc and we only spent a day at Bells. I also did a quick trip before the comp this time with a few of the other Aussie boys. It was a bit of a development camp working with Cahill Bell-Warren and Adam Robbo for four days. I feel like the south coast isn’t that different to the east coast. The right hand point breaks felt similar to home although they are breaking over reef.

What boards were you riding?

I was riding Sparrow Shapes Surfboards made by Adam Fletcher on the Gold Coast. I’ve been riding them for the last five years. The model I was riding is my signature model that we have been working on together for the last 12 months. It has a fuller outline than most traditional shortboards and I’ve gone up litres, and in length since getting on the tour to suit the better quality waves on the CT.

What would you tell 12 year old you now you’ve just been through this? 

I would tell the 12 year old me to put down the scooter, give footy a rest and start surfing. For the groms, just know, it’s never too late to start – you have to believe in yourself and don’t give up, there’s a lot of hard work involved. Don’t fear failure, value self improvement and try and be 1% better everyday.


callum robson vs mick fanning

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