Pivotal Moments In The Life of Chippa Wilson
Both in and out of the water.Read more
Hey Chippa, tell us about the moment you….
…got your first surfboard.
That was rad, I actually got to see it before I got it. Robbie Johnson – he was like one of the guys with Mick and Joel in the Junior Titles and stuff back in the day, but he’s super mellow and he kinda went off on his own way – my dad grabbed one of his broken boards and fixed it in the garage. He held onto it for about a week and gave it to me for my birthday. I was stoked. Maybe Rip Curl were making boards back then, I’m not too sure, it didn’t have a logo, it had been snapped right where it would have been. I was just a grommie and it was way too big, like 6’2” and I was nine or ten. Before that I was just a bodyboard beach bum, cruising around.
…first ever thought you were going to drown.
God, that would have been every surf when I was a kid, I was such a pussy. There was one day they had a comp on the Gold Coast, I think it was the Brothers Nielsen Junior Pro or whatever. I was in the under 12s and it was huge, it was about four foot and I was about two foot tall. Somehow they let the kids go out there but you had to be accompanied so my dad’s really good friend paddled out with me. I remember shaking with fear in the line-up and nearly crying, it was the scariest thing. I got one wave and went across and made it all the way in. I made the news that night, that was the coolest thing about it. First time on the screen. I was so pumped. Mum recorded it on the VCR.
…were given a life changing piece of advice.
It would have been when I was 16. We were doing a coaching session and I’m not going to name names but we were doing a two hour session and he said, “You’re going to go out and do cutbacks for the whole session.” That changed everything for me, it was so boring. For someone to tell to me do that, you can tell he wasn’t into the way I surfed or whatever and it made me realise that I didn’t have to go to coaching to have fun surfing. I was stoked on going out and having fun and doing what I wanted to. There’s been heaps of good advice over the years, but that’s the one that sticks out, that’s a fun one.
…were star-struck by a surfer for the first time.
It was probably Kerrsy, I remember he was dating a good friend of mine’s sister, so he was always around town, and I’d see him in the water doing these huge airs and shuv-its. He was pretty punk back then, he’s still punk now but he’s more of a well rounded surfer, but back then he was all big-arse airs and stuff. I remember going ’round to my mates house and Kerrsy was just sitting there on the couch and I thought, “Oh no…” I could hardly talk, I was so star struck, but we’re good mates now. I was 14, 15, that’s guessing, I don’t even know. Time flies.
…felt like giving up surfing.
It happens a bit, where you have the worst week of surfing of your life and you’re like, “Stuff this, I’m washers, I’m gonna give it up.” But the worst it ever got was when I was younger, I would have been 20, 21 and I was pretty broke really, and still trying to chase the dream without a sponsor. That was the closest I came to giving up on the career path. I was so over having no money while all the boys had a trade and they had a bank account and could go and do things, while I just felt stuck. This was before Analog came along. I got that lucky break so I was stoked.