Wade Carmichael surfs like a big, bearded man should.
Going into the Triple Crown, Avoca’s Wade Carmichael is Australia’s best chance of qualifying for the CT. He currently sits in the top 10 on the QS and has form and history in Hawaii on his side. Tracks caught up with the bearded powermonger to see how he’s dealing with the pressure and what he’s done differently this year.
Tracks: Hi Wade, nice to meet you mate. Doing a bit of research for our chat I struggled to get much information on you. Is it fair to say you operate under the radar?
Wade: I think a lot of people don’t know much about me, but that’s kinda the way I like it. I don’t really like being in the spotlight. I’m more comfortable just cruising and doing my own thing.
Are you just shy, or is the whole professional surfing circus not your thing?
I don’t really like getting caught up in all the bullshit. I just prefer to hang with mates and just surf. There’s not much more to it than that really.
Who have you been hanging with this year on the QS?
I travelled with Cooper Chapman, Dion Atkinson and Liam Mortensen. We are all pretty much the same. We get on well and all just froth on surfing, that’s the basis of the friendships really.
Fast Forward to the eleven minute mark to see Wade’s tube-riding skills and power gouges on display in his compelling final part in ‘Goodfellas’.
However being 8th on the QS, the CT is now within touching distance. Do you know what you need to do to qualify?
I don’t worry about the points or the rankings too much. I came to Hawaii early and I just look at this stint here as being the best six weeks of surfing I get all year. I just take that out of it. I get to do some hacks on some big bowls and score some fun waves.
You’ve had some big results in Hawaii, winning in Haleiwa in 2015 and coming in second in the HIC Pro at Sunset a few weeks ago. What do you like about it?
Well, whenever there is swell we are just out there all day and it doesn’t get much better than riding a 7-foot board out at 10-foot Sunset, or hitting the big bowls at Haleiwa. I’m comfortable here and just enjoy my time. I just get to froth out.
How does that translate to competition surfing?
For me the comps provide such a great opportunity to get good waves. In a freesurf you might be lucky to get one bomb, but in a heat you can get two or three in a half hour. I don’t take any minute of a heat for granted and if I get a couple of waves I’m a happy camper. Usually that means you get through a heat too. So it is win win.
After that win in Haleiwa two years ago you came close to making the cut. Is that playing on your mind?
Well, that year I still had to make the semis at Sunset and everyone else got results that year too. Then I had a shocker, so that was that. Hero to zero (laughs).
Last year didn’t pan out, you came in 75th on the QS, how has this year been different?
To be honest I’m a bit more comfortable being myself. I think last year a lot of people talked up my chances and it didn’t happen and I worked out I’d just put too much pressure on myself. This year I’ve gone back to just doing my type of surfing and if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, so be it. I’m trying to just have fun and enjoy my surfing. That’s what I did at Sunset and it worked out there.
Have you allowed yourself to think about making the CT?
I can’t think about getting on the CT until I get the job done. Getting my hopes up won’t help. On the other hand it would be a childhood dream come true if it happens. So hopefully if I get there, it sounds like it could be the best years of your life. You just gotta keep dreaming.
Would it be fair to say you’ve done it tougher than most on the QS, given you’ve had no major backing?
I feel like I’ve had few more obstacles thrown my way getting this far. It’s been harder financially for me than some of my mates on tour. But at the end of the day, I still get myself to the comps and I get to surf for a living so there are no complaints. It’s just been my path to where I am now and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I don’t know the ins and outs of everyone’s story, but I’m pretty happy with my one.