Yes, R-Cal! Photo: WSL/Poullenot

Celebrate: Ryan Callinan Is Pretty Much on the CT Next Year

Winner of the Portuguese QS10,000. Winner of our hearts!

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In the early hours of Sunday morning Ryan Callinan went ahead and, excuse me if I exaggerate a tiny bit for a moment, became the biggest legend that has ever existed in the history of international sports. How’d he do that? The Novocastrian did that by winning the Portuguese QS10,000 (the EDP Billabong Pro Ericeira), adding 10,000 points to an already solid year and all but claiming himself a place on the Championship Tour in 2019.

Winning this event was no minor league small feat either, to take the trophy he had to go through CT World no.9  Kanoa Igarashi in the final (and that guy has been absolutely on fire lately), and the likely 2018 World Champ Mr. Gabriel Medina in the semis.

Callinan, with 19,360 points, is now second on the Qualifying Series rankings behind Kanoa Igarashi, who will likely double qualify on the CT.

“I’m a pretty emotional guy, so it’s really overwhelming.”

To put those points in context, if Callinan were to just say, “Stuff it!” and stop surfing for the year, remaining on the points he has accrued so far this season, that 19,360 would have finished eighth in the 2017 and 10th in the 2016 Qualifying races, and that’s without striking out surfers who double qualified on the CT and the QS. In fact, in the last four years, the only time Callinan’s current score wouldn’t have seen him qualify was in the year he last qualified, 2015, when he finished 10th with 21,300 points. And this is all without taking into account that there are two more QS 10,000s left (in Hawaii!), where R-Cal will no doubt stockpile more points before the end of the season.

The win also makes him the world’s highest ranked QS surfer of right now, which mean he gets a spot at the CT event, the Quiksilver Pro France next week.

Here’s some quotes from Ryan Callinan after the win:

“I’m a pretty emotional guy, so it’s really overwhelming.”

“This year’s been a whirlwind I don’t know what’s happened to me, I’ve never won an event before and this is my second for this season!”

All of this is emotional for Callinan, for many reasons. Falling off a CT as a rookie, after a year of gut-wrenchingly close heat loss after heat loss, to bouncing back and requalifying two years later is no small feat. But his time since falling off the Championship Tour at the end of 2016 has also been marked with tragedy, losing his mother in May 2017, suddenly to a medical condition,  only 15 months after losing his father Garry to a long battle with cancer earlier in February 2016.

I think we can all agree the fact that Ryan is winning events and will (in theory) be on the Championship Tour once again next year is a fair dinkum triumph. Bloody good onya, Ryan Callinan!

It’s surfing’s feel good story of the year.

Photo: WSL/Poullenot

 

 

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Never been so happy to kiss a man. Ryno you little bloody ripper! #ImNotCryingYoureCrying #EDPBillabongProEriceira

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P.S. It should be noted too that 2017 rookie Ethan Ewing claimed a 5th at the same event, picking up a handy 5,200 points, throwing him 12 spots north in the rankings and placing him in the top 10 at ninth.

Mike Jennings