Surfer Robinson ready for the world title
Jack Robinson’s crack for a world surfing title took 20 years to prepare for and for Australian surfing it couldn’t have come at a better time.
The 24-year-old will be Australia’s best hope for a decisive men’s world crown next month, nine years after three-time champion Mick Fanning’s last triumph.
The Brazilians have won five of the last seven titles, with Hawaiian John John Florence breaking their dominance in 2016-17.
Lack of success Australian stocks could also take a hit in the near future, with Olympic medalist Owen Wright considering joining retired Julian Wilson after missing out on the mid-season cut.
“I think Australia was hoping for someone new,” Robinson told AAP.
“It’s been so long; even before I was on tour I was thinking, ‘I want to be the next Aussie to get started’, so I’m thrilled.
“The Brazilians have had their time so it’s a good time for Aussie surfing with a bunch of young guys coming in.”
For the second time, the world title will be decided in an epic day of competition next month with the top five ranked men and women battling it out at Lower Trestles in California.
At world No. 2, Robinson is ranked one place ahead of fellow Australian Ethan Ewing, while seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore will fly the flag as the women’s No. 5.
From the age of three, Robinson was surfing Hawaii’s famous Pipeline at the age of 12 and was dubbed the next Kelly Slater at the time.
He was already sponsored and traveling the world, homeschooled to maximize his time in the water under the watchful eye of his father/coach Trevor.
But Robinson’s rise came to a halt as the qualifying series grind took off, not joining the elite circuit until 2021.
Robinson believes his chance at the top level was long in coming.
“It’s been forever,” he said.
“I know there will be many moments like this to come, but this is the first, so probably the most exciting.
“It’s your childhood dream, growing up watching guys like Mick Fanning and all the best guys do it, so it’s amazing.”
After a first WSL title in August 2021 in Mexico, Robinson has won back-to-back competitions this year – during his home break in Margaret River and G-Land in Indonesia.
Despite being ranked among the best tube riders in the world, he showed his consistency with four more top five finishes to sit only behind Brazilian circuit leader Felipe Toledo.
The competition window for the finals opens Sept. 8 and Robinson will be ready.
He’s already settled in Lowers, spending at least five hours a day in the water-testing boards, getting used to the break and the physical toll of the format.
As part of the structure of the competition, the fifth-ranked surfer takes fourth place, with the winner facing the world No. 3, and that winner facing Robinson.
Top-seeded Toledo awaits the last surfer standing, with the title then decided in a best-of-three clash.
Reigning world champion Gabriel Medina is not in the roster, managing only three events due to injury.
“Each round takes a long time and you don’t know who you’re going to be up against, which is kind of crazy,” Robinson said.
“The higher you are ranked the better because you could end up surfing three times anyway, even if you are ranked first.”