India Robinson is on the cusp of qualifying for the 2022 Championship Tour. The 21-year-old from Victoria, Australia, has had an impressive run in the Challenger Series and is coming off the back of a runner-up finish at the ROXY Pro France. She sits in fourth place on the rankings with the final event of the series at Haleiwa set to seal her fate as she pins her hopes on joining the ranks of the CT elite.
"I went into every heat not wanting to make one single mistake that could potentially ruin it and it ended up working out really well and my surfing all fell into place," she says of her result in France.
The powerful natural footer has just come back from a trip to Kauai with best friend and newest qualifier for the CT, Hawaii's Gabriela Bryan. It's the Australian's first time to Hawaii and she is staying with Bryan on the North Shore hoping she can tap into some local knowledge and elevate her performance at the final event of the season.
"That's obviously been my dream and goal for a really long time and I've still got a lot of work I'm going into Haleiwa knowing I need a result," she tells the WSL.
With a fresh quiver of Pyzel shooters from world champion shaper Jon Pyzel, Robinson is primed and ready to go. She's grateful to have the world-beating shaper in her corner who has been putting boards beneath the feet of John John Florence for more than fifteen years and helped steer the Hawaiian to two world titles.
"I think it's relieved the pressure knowing that whatever board he makes me it's going be like the best board for the waves in Hawaii because he's one of the best shapers in the world. And, he lives right out the front of Rockies and I can see him I can talk to him about boards. I can just say, ‘Hey, I need a board for this,' and he'll make it and it'll be an amazing board. So I think trusting him with my boards has definitely helped a lot."
While the Jan Juc local has support from her Hawaiian crew she is quick to acknowledge the impact that Adam Robertson from Surfing Victoria has had over the course of her career. "I definitely owe a lot to Adam Robbo and the crew at Surfing Victoria -- they started this for me."
Robinson moved to Pottsville on the North Coast of New South Wales last year and teamed up with Jay ‘Bottle' Thompson. She says working with the CT super coach who had incredible success with CT Rookie Morgan Cibilic this season and the team at the Surfing Australia High-Performance Centre has been the best decision she's ever made.
"They have been a really big support for me and help me in and out of the water. I talk to Bottle on a regular basis. At every event, he calls me or messages me before I paddle out just to give me a few pointers and a few words of encouragement -- even chucks a random joke in there," laughs Robinson.
With CT qualification within reach, Robinson says she would love nothing more than to fulfil her childhood dream and get to travel the world with one of her best friends.
"I obviously really, really, want to qualify and travel the world with one of my best friends in Gaby Bryan. That would be a really cool experience. I feel like I've worked really hard for this moment so I'm just going to give it everything I can."
Tune into the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger LIVE from the North Shore of Oahu from November 26 - December 7 to see who will make the cut for the 2022 Championship Tour.