Wade Carmichael has been flying under the radar for years now, and it’s easy to see why. The stocky Australian with his thick beard and barrel chest looks like he belongs on a barstool in an outback pub watching rugby, not in the water. He also grew up in Avoca Beach, a small New South Wales town that’s perfectly isolated from the M1 highway and largely immune to media fuss as a result. But it’s most likely due to the fact that Carmichael is just a humble, soft-spoken guy who’s usually head down and hard working. He’s the polar opposite of glossy surf celebrity. He’s a blue-collar guy who grinds hard to represent home. And for its small size his home zone sure has been spitting out its share surfing talents. Wade grew up admiring local heroes Matt Wilkinson and Ace Buchan, who grew up watching guys like Shane Powell, Drew Courtney, Bryce Ellis and the late Mark Sainsbury, all of whom made impacts on the global stage. Compared to that bunch he took a bit longer to get out of the blocks, mostly because his low profile didn’t help him attract sponsors. To get his dream started he did everything from ditch digging and pounding nails to surf instructor and lifesaver. His big breakthrough finally came in 2015, when he won the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa in perfect surf. His authoritative rail game won the day and nearly earned him qualification for the Championship Tour that year, but alas, he didn’t get that job done until 2017. And in 2018, the Australian earned himself the Rookie of the Year at No. 9 in the World. His unsung status will keep him as a hidden threat, but anyone who’s watched him closely knows how serious a threat he can be.