Questions: Trevor Ward (TW) Answers: Adam Robertson (AR)
TW: So, how does it feel having surfed in the final of a WT event? Not only a WT event, but the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach?
AR: Right now it feels surreal. To have that level of success on my home turf is a dream come true. It's now a few days after and I don't think I've fully comprehended it yet. It's such a great feeling.
TW: The party last night at your cousin's house was full of Portland fiends who were so hyped mate. The buzz was amazing. How good was it to repay their support with that runner-up trophy?
AR: It was awesome. The night was filled with many beers and bell ringing. They were great to have around and share my elation with. There were a few sore heads the next day, a few people that are mad at me for going so well. One friend missed his sister's engagement party because he was too sick to get out of bed the following night! These guys have backed me 100% since I started my career, so it was great to be able to the repay them in a way.
TW: Your party got pretty loose in the garage with the table tennis going on and then Kelly Slater turning up and thrashing everyone on the table except for your cousin. Do you think your cousin thinks he's better than you now for beating Slater at table tennis?
AR: We won't stop hearing about that until Slater beats him next year! Both Liam and Kelly smoked me so it is fair to say Liam has one up on me right now. Things really got intense in the garage, you could have cut the competitive tension with a knife. There was so much sledging going on and even Slater copped a lot of flack. But it was amazing that he came over. He's the man.
TW: Personally, if I got that runner-up bell I would take it everywhere and get free stuff in Torquay and ring the bell and be very obnoxious with it ... What's it mean to you to have a Bell in your house?
AR: I've seen every Rip Curl Pro since I was super young, I've seen so many of the World's best surfers receive the iconic trophies and dreamed that I'd have one myself, but I don't know that I truly believed I ever would. It means so much that I've earned one, it's a huge symbol of success to me. To be honest, I haven't rung it much. I'm so stunned by it I don't know what to do with it.
TW: Had you ever surfed against Parko before in a heat and how was coming up against him in the Final? Was he mellow out in the water or did he have his game face on?
AR: I've competed against Parko in the junior series in Phillip Island years ago. I consider Parko to be one of the greatest surfers right now so it was an honour to be in the water with him. He had his game face on during the heat, but as did I. In the last 5 minutes we both knew it was unlikely I was going to get the waves to get the scores to win so we both dropped the game face and had a chat. From what I heard before, Joel and I had being following a very similar training regime, so we spoke about that and what it takes for someone to win and be successful in surfing. I also complimented him on his flawless start to the year. We were both really stoked with our results so there was a very positive vibe out there.
TW: Everyone is calling you the "Cinderella" story of Bells, how do you feel about that and do you feel that your long flowing locks attributed to this?
AR: I was thinking out in the water that I'd wish they'd stop calling me Cinderella! But I can see where it has come from and think that is a good message to send out to others. I'm proud to show people that despite lack of sponsorship and so forth you can still be successful. Companies are having a really tough time financially right now so there are many sensational surfers chasing their dreams competing without major sponsorship, not just myself. Hopefully this can inspire others to stick at it. I've been mentoring some young emerging surfers from Victoria at the moment and I keep telling them that you don't need a sticker on the nose of your board to be a good surfer. I think I proved that to them at this contest.
TW: Did you know that in your heat against Kekoa there was some huge feeding frenzy going on out in the water about 300m away from you?
AR: I had no idea about that. When you are out in the water you are so focused on the waves and nothing else. Even if I had noticed it would not have made a difference as my mind was elsewhere.
TW: You are a local legend back home in Portland, I'm sure the guys in the Pub there are going to talk about you for the next 100 years, so tell me more about where you grew up? And why you moved to Jan Juc and not up to the Gold coast like most Victorians?
AR: Portland will forever be my home. It's a tight knit town and a close surfing community. Half the town was there on the beach on the last day, which was awesome. I moved up to Jan Juc this year to be close to my girlfriend Hannah, my coach Gally and my trainer Pods. It made a lot of sense to be up here instead of commuting back and forth between here, home and the airport. I still flee back there when I know the waves will be good. I love the Goldie, but just in small doses! Apparently the whole of Portland was hyped for the two weeks the contest was on, it will be great to get back there for a few days after my next stint of travel.
TW: You knocked out some great surfers and probably the biggest name was Bede Durbidge. He was in your position about two years ago, not being sponsored after getting the axe from Billabong, what was your strategy against him?
AR: Bede is a great surfer and great guy. He's renowned for his consistently high scores in heats. I knew I had to go all out and that I couldn't rely on luck for this heat. The waves turned on so it was awesome to be able to go toe-to-toe and be able to flare on a few waves each. I just tried to put in everything that I had to win that heat.
TW: I actually noticed when Fred Patacchia came out against you he tried to get every wave possible. Was it shitting you that he sat right on you the whole time and every wave you even looked at he would go for? In the end it paid off and you took about four waves.
AR: No it didn't annoy me. I expected those kinds of tactics. He obviously wanted to put the pressure back on me, which he certainly managed to do. But with me holding priority I knew that when a set came through I could pick the best wave and potentially get the score. Using priority wisely is critical, and that something I don't have loads of experience with as on the QS only the finals are done Man-on-Man.
TW: Your Dad is such a good bloke and he really loves surfing. I think he's rad 'cause he was the first Vic skateboarding champion but he supports your career 100%. How important do you think this is for you?
AR: I owe my career to my Dad, really. He's backed me and supported me the whole way. My family have always been behind my surfing and given me every opportunity to pursue it. My Dad was not only the first skateboarding champion but also Victorian gymnast champion and Victorian surfing champion. He is one of those multi-talented guys. And on my mum's side my Grandfather was a great sportsman too and played AFL for Essendon. I think sports are really in my blood. It's probably because of them that I can't sit still or stay indoors for long periods of time!
TW: OK, obviously you are cashed-up and ready to go and your mindset would be amazing right now. What about at the end of last year when you were in Hawaii and you knew you couldn't make the WCT. Did you think 'I'm giving this away' or did you know what you had to do?
AR: I had very mixed emotions at the end of last year. It is so difficult when you come so close, and you're working so hard to achieve something and it doesn't pay off. I was pretty devastated that I couldn't get those couple of results at the end to qualify, but at the same time it made me pretty hungry to nail the coming year. It was my girlfriend who said to me that if I still have goals to achieve then, I had to go for it, and that if I'm going to reach them then I have to go all out and give it everything I've got and have no regrets. It was then I got onto my trainer and coach and stepped things up a notch. It was a complete shift in my thinking.
TW: A lot of the locals say that they have seen you training flat-out over summer? Surfing in crap waves, and also I heard you broke your nose boxing? Do you think this training has set you up for the 2009 'QS season and who has helped you get there?
AR: A mix of people have helped me get ready for 2009. All the guys at the Portland Boxing Association, Graeme Galbraith at Torquay Surf Academy, James Podsiadly at Tripod Fitness and my family and friends. They have all kept me on my toes. The 'QS doesn't have the best waves always, and in assessing my year last year I struggled to get through a heat in bad waves whereas other guys seem to have the knack to pull out results. So my coach and I really looked at how and what you need to do to get through those heats, and sadly, that meant practicing in waves I wouldn't usually even free surf in. Yeah, I did break my nose boxing over summer, twice actually, but I've always been one to go full steam ahead and not think about consequences until later, so no one was surprised! But I've since gone a little easier in the ring to avoid it happening again. My girlfriend was pretty close to banning me from boxing, full stop, after the broken nose and shiner I scored.
TW: So being away from OZ is always hard, where do you like surfing outside of this great country and who do you tour with?
AR: I tour with my mate Nic Muscroft mainly and a few other Aussie guys like Jack Perry and Corey Ziems. I love a lot of places on tour, especially the Maldives, America and Hawaii.
TW: And you're off to South Africa for the 6 star prime event, what's the next couple of months got in store for you?
AR: South Africa, Scotland, Maldives, Brazil and some time at home. It's a pretty busy schedule, but I'm looking forward to getting well into the 2009 season, especially after this event now. I'm very motivated to get some keeper results now.
TW: Well good luck with the rest of the year. I hope you take the confidence away and take the year out. You certainly have everything that makes up a great WCT surfer. Who would you like to thank?
AR: Everyone who I've mentioned earlier and everyone who has backed me and believed in me, even when I was on the couch after an ankle reconstruction. Their help has got me to where I am today. Hopefully I can keep the ball rolling and qualify for the WCT now so we can have another big party at the end of the year.