Local prospect Robinson targets upset Bells
After qualifying for the 2002 World Surf League Tour, India Robinson put a big red circle on the schedule around the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach.
The 21-year-old grew up in nearby Jan Juc and as an eyelet used to haul boards for professional surfers such as Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore during the iconic Easter event.
“Surfing Victoria has implemented a really cool idea for us groms to ride a caddy,” Robinson said.
“Since probably 10 years old I’ve held all the boards for a lot of people that I look up to, so to be competing now is really cool.
“My goal before qualifying was to win a wildcard for this event, and I’ve finished second and third a couple of times, then last year I did the Challenger Series, and I was like, ‘I want to qualify, so I’m finally in the home event’.”
Robinson had an immediate impact on the tour, finishing ninth in his first event, then fifth in the last two to sit eighth in the standings ahead of Bells – one place behind two-time Australian world champion Tyler Wright.
Brisa Hennessy of Costa Rica tops the standings.
Robinson said she even surprised herself at her early success with her aim just to cross the threshold, with the field of 18 surfers expected to be reduced to 12 after the two Australian events.
She now has her sights set on finishing in the top five, with those surfers competing in the WSL Tour Finals.
She said her three older brothers toughened her up for the Tour.
“They all surf and they always pushed me in the water, and my dad surfs too,” she told AAP.
“My brothers definitely made me a stronger person, they didn’t make it easy for me.
“If I wanted to play games with them, I had to be at a level they liked and I was good enough to do it, so they didn’t give me an thumbs up.”
Having surfed the Bells all her life, Robinson was confident of her chances – with the start of the competition delayed until at least Monday due to a small swell on Sunday.
“Growing up in Victoria the waves are really powerful so you have to match the power of the wave to the power of your surfing and from a very young age my trainer Adam Robbo (Robertson) taught me that,” said she declared.
“He always put us on bigger boards so that we had stronger legs and it went really well.
“I’m a strong surfer and these waves are strong so it’s going to be okay.”