Bronte Macaulay isn't on the Championship Tour, but she's surfing like she will be. On the Gold Coast she eliminated Sally Fitzgibbons, and here at Margaret River she finished on top of former Rookie of the Year Johanne Defay and six-time World Champ Stephanie Gilmore in Round One. The 22-year-old goofyfooter, whose father Dave is a former CT star and Margies champ, is making the most of her time on the elite Tour.
WSL: You've gotten the opportunity to surf in the first three events, is it difficult to keep your focus getting QS results while you're surfing on the CT?
Bronte Macaulay: I'm definitely more focused on the QS. It's just the unknown, I don't know how many events I'm going to get into. This could be my last. It's kind of like a novelty almost. It's a good experience and I'll take them as they come, but I'm focused on the QS.
WSL: You've made it past the first elimination round in every event you've been in, what do you attribute your success to?
Macaulay: I think surfing on the QS for so many years. You have that goal at qualifying and when you get that opportunity you want to make the most of it. And if this where you want to be, you've got to give it your all. And I guess the fact that there's not that much pressure on me because I'm not on the Tour is a positive. Getting past that Round Two was at Snapper was a huge confidence booster for me. Especially against somebody like Sally because she's an amazing surfer and competitor. The more you surf in the CT the more comfortable you get.
WSL: We've heard from some rookies that you have to get over being starstruck in your heats, does that affect you at all?
Macaulay: I had a heat with Steph and Tyler in Round 3 at Snapper and I was really starstruck looking around at them. I thought about it after and was like, "What did I even do in that heat?" I was really mellow. I was blown away. I think you have a few of those heats and then you think, "Well if I'm that talented, I have to surf." And if you're a low seed you're always going to face those bigger names, you have to expect it. Steph is my favorite surfer and it was a bit funny in that heat, I was trying not to look at her (laughs). And then we stayed with her in Bells and she's such a legend. I can't believe how down to earth she is. Once you get to know them, you realize they're just a person.
WSL: Does this experience make you more hungry to join the CT full-time?
Macaulay: I'm kind of always hungry to get on the CT. But it's been nice to get a taste. It's so different surfing on the CT though, the waiting period is so much longer. That's what I've felt is the most challenging, when you don't surf for a few days and you've got to keep your momentum up, and not get too exhausted for the end of it.
WSL: How are you feeling about getting back into some QS events after Margaret River?
Macaulay: I'm pretty fired up for the QS at the moment. El Salvador and Mexico are next and I can't wait for those two. I'm hoping to have a good year there.