This time last year Jack Robinson was threading desert tubes in Northwest Western Australia. The Vortex Sharman clocked more tube time in 2020 than most surfers on the planet. Now, in his rookie year, the 23-year-old from Margaret River has just got back from a hit-and-run trip to the sand-bottomed points of Mexico ahead of the next CT event at Barra De La Cruz (as seen below in this latest release from the Snapt4 crew).
"The bank's really good we had fun waves and a really good trip. Stoked we're going back I'm frothing," Robinson told the WSL. "There's heaps of sand behind the point it feels like Snapper or something. You can get barrelled from behind the point -- a lot of guys were going down from it and I was sitting on the edge of it and way down it was like a mini J-Bay or something. It's pretty sick."
Speaking from California, Robinson sounds at ease but admits he's eager to claw back up the rankings and finish the season off with a bang and avoid requalification through the Challenger Series.
"I've been in these positions before and you know at the end of the day you sort of just realize you just have to go and focus on the main things," he says. "There's a couple of events to go so just focus on your strengths, go surf now and pay attention to the things that matter."
Robinson opened the season with a ninth-place finish at Pipeline and equaled his best result at Narrabeen showing that his small wave game has gone up a gear too -- a previous weak point in his arsenal.
But put him in life-threatening conditions at locations like Pipeline and Margaret River, and he's in a league of his own. After he was knocked out of the Margies event by Jeremy Flores the West Australian live-streamed his free surf at The Box which was serving up hissing six-foot tubes delivering a tube riding masterclass for those that tuned in.
He admits that when the waves get critical everything is simplified and the distractions of competition such as strategy, his opponent, and the pressure to perform just slip away.
"It does [laughs] without you even really deciding what to do or wanting to do -- that's all you've got to focus you have to pay attention and that's good."
This year Robinson has been traveling with his wife, Julia Muniz, who he attributes to helping him stay grounded and have fun. He reflects that jumping on the CT and competing against the world's best is a constant work in progress.
"I always wanted to be on tour and that was always amazing to get there. Now it's [pause] it is different -- just about trying to find your place. It can be taken a lot of ways. Like, ‘Oh I'm trying to find myself,' but you've got to realize that you're there for a reason because you earnt it and got there. It's really good fun but it also takes a lot of work and that's what you get used to real quick -- it's a full-time job once you're on there."
Robinson has grown in physique recently which has forced his long-time shaper, Eric Arakawa, to adjust his equipment to handle the pounding of his lacerating hacks and giant airs as he pushes his surfing with more horsepower.
The Hawaiian shaper recently came over to San Clemente to shape a quiver for Robinson with legendary shaper Timmy Patterson who helped take reigning world champ and current world No. 2 Italo Ferreira to his maiden world title.
"Yeah, Eric wanted to come over and shape in San Clemente. He sent me a message, ‘Oh I think I'm going to come over and I was like, ‘Alright.'" He wanted to shape with Timmy [Patterson] and that's cool. It's like me surfing with someone really good -- you're just bouncing off each other which is good for the shapers to do."
The added power was noticeable in Robinson's section in Volcom's latest edit titled ‘Lobotomy' in which he plays a starring role. In it, he trades breakwall wedges with freesurfer Noa Deane on the east coast of Australia surfing with reckless abandon oozing bucket loads of creativity and flair.
"I definitely got a lot of good waves and whenever we get stuff to put together it's always good fun," says Robinson of the film. "I don't think it ever gets old everyone loves watching a good section you know, that's what it's all about keeping it fun and watching good surfing."
As the conversation steers back to competition Robinson signals Filipe Toledo as the one to beat as the world title showdown at Trestles draws near.
"It seems like Filipe is having a lot of fun right now. He's not too stressed about it and it seems like he's surfing the best too. They're all having a lot of fun I feel like so it's probably a good reminder as well."
While the Aussies may not be tops now Robinson believes he and the younger crop of Aussies that include Ethan Ewing and Morgan Cibilic can make up ground in years to come.
"It definitely makes you want to work harder. There are a lot of young guys right now and we're all pretty young from Australia so It'll be interesting years coming I reckon it'll be good to see what happens and see how we can go against everyone."
The Corona Open Mexico presented by Quiksilver kicks off on August 10, 2021, don't miss a minute of the action.