Jack Robinson eyes World Championship Tour after breakout World Surf League campaign
“Bells Beach too, Margaret [River] not as much which was a nice relief, but then it came back at J-Bay (Jeffreys Bay in South Africa) and then in December it kicked off again.
“All of a sudden I couldn’t sleep and I [turned] to my girlfriend Julia and said ‘I need to go to hospital’.
“I had probably been in that situation eight or so times throughout the year. But that was the extra big one, I waited all day and they got that thing out in surgery that night.
“By that point it was, ‘just get it out, please’. I was so over it because this just kept happening all year and now I’m just happy to be healthy again. It’s all good now and hopefully, fingers crossed, it’s a clean year now for me.”
This time last year Robinson was only just truly putting himself on the WCT map, having been touted as ‘the next Kelly Slater’ from as early as the age of 12.
In what Slater described as “one of, if not the best day I’ve ever seen” for a tour event at Pipeline, Robinson trumped the greatest surfer of all time with a pair of nine-out-of-10 barrel rides in double-overhead conditions.
This year’s event has started with two lay-days, but hopes are high on the North Shore that the women’s and men’s competitions will get underway on Tuesday (Wednesday morning AEDT) in favourable six-foot conditions.
Robinson’s prowess as one of the world’s best barrel-riders has him well-placed to start 2023 with a podium finish, particularly given Toledo’s reluctance to take on heavy waves like Teahupo’o and Pipeline last year.
Robinson had questioned Toledo’s half-hearted attempt in Tahiti last August but played a straight bat to suggestions he held an advantage against the Brazilian in this week’s event.
“We start from zero again,” Robinson said.
“When the waves are good you’re not thinking about your competitors or how they’ll handle that. But Pipeline is its own beast and creates a different environment.
“Doesn’t matter how often you come or even the local guys who push it out there, you still respect that wave like nothing else.”