"I don't know the ins and outs of everyone's story," Wade Carmichael says, "but I'm pretty happy with mine." As well he should be. The Australian naturalfooter is currently sitting at 8th on the QS rankings following a second place finish at the recent Vans Presents the HIC Pro.
The 25-year-old has probably faced more obstacles than most, having at various times worked as a lifesaver and other "real" jobs to keep his dream alive. "It's been harder financially for me than some of my mates on tour," he says. "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. I'm where I want to be."
While a former Australian Junior Champion and multiple Qualifying Series (QS) events winner, Carmichael came to the attention of most surf fans when he was an upset winner of the Hawaiian Pro in 2015. That win pushed him close to qualification, only for a poor result at Sunset to see him slip to 16th. "I think I had to make the Semis, but I had a shocker. Hero to zero," he laughs about that pivotal time in his career.
The added attention and pressure that came with that win, however, didn't suit Carmichael's style. "I think a lot of people don't know much about me, but that's kinda the way I like it,'' he says. "I don't really like being in the spotlight. I'm comfortable just cruising and doing my own thing."
Carmichael says he, too, was guilty of getting ahead of himself. The added pressure was to blame for a poor year in 2016, where he slipped to No. 75 on the QS rankings. "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 there."
The last two QS 10,000 events being in Hawaii is another bonus. The waves on the North Shore suit Carmichael's old school power and brutal hacks. Not only that, it also provides the self confessed "frother" to simply do what he loves the most: Surf his brains out.
"I'm not worrying about the points or the rankings too much. I came to Hawaii early and I just look at this stint as being the best six weeks of surfing I get all year," he says. "I just take that out of it. I get to surf with my mates all day, every day, do some massive hacks on some big bowls and score some fun waves. I mean that's what it's all about, isn't it?"