Five Pivotal Moments With Ryan Callinan
…first had your mind blown by a surf movie? Montaj and Doped Youth. Taj was my favourite surfer and everything about the film blew my mind. The way it was all cut together with these cool little sessions. There was one session in France that looked exactly like home and I wore that thing out watching it over and over. When Doped Youth came out I wasn’t really all that familiar with anyone in it. I was just like, “Luke Stedman shreds! Chris Davidson is an animal! Who are these guys?!”
…broke your legs? Injuries suck but they give you a lot of time to think about where you’re at with your surfing. I broke my leg in Bali doing a backside air reverse and at the time I wasn’t too bummed about it because it felt like I’d been going so hard for so long that it was almost a relief to be forced out. I had a huge break and when I came back I was feeling so fresh. Then I tried another backside air rev and ripped all the ligaments in my ankle and that forced me out for another three months. That was heavy because when you want to surf and you can’t the time really drags out. During the healing for that I got pretty fat and a bit bummed but when I finally got back in the water it was the best feeling I’d had since I was a grom. It took a long time to feel confident doing those sorts of big turns again but thankfully I feel like I’m back. I think after one surf in particular I made a few big airs and I came in and I found a bit of paper and I wrote, “Today is the day I’m officially back.” It was an epic feeling to be surfing near my best again.
…caught that wave that changed your life? I went on my first ever surf trip for Surfing Magazine to the Mentawais with Craig Anderson, Eric Geiselman, Dillon Perillo and Yadin Nicol. On the second day we surfed at a wave called Bank Vaults and about 40 minutes into the session I pulled what felt like a pretty out of control backside air reverse. It felt ok but pretty flat and I thought, “That felt alright I s’pose.” Anyway I ended up having a pretty good surf and I made a few other airs that I was stoked on. I asked the photographers and filmers and they were all going, “No way man, that first one was the one.” Which I was kind of tripping on. Then I saw the photos and the footage and I was like, ‘Whoa! It didn’t feel anything like that at all.” That air ended up getting the cover of Surfing Magazine, led to me getting some waves in Lost Atlas, put me on the radar with Billabong and got me a spot in their movie and basically kickstarted everything. A couple of months later I got the cover of Surfing World and I remember thinking, “Wow, this is kinda happening.” That wave was a pivotal moment in my career for sure.
…were given great advice? “If you’re not enjoying it then quit and do something else!” My Dad taught me that, it snaps you out of whatever headspace you’re in, makes you laugh and stoked again.
…were totally starstruck? Has to be meeting Occy. I’ve never met Kelly but I don’t really care for him that much anyway. One of the first times I ever had to do a signing I was sitting next to Occy and I felt like the biggest hoax. I was like, “I’m sitting next to Occy, who’s gonna want my signature?” I felt like getting his autograph the entire time. He’s the people’s champion.