Jack Robinson rides the tube at Cloudbreak in Fiji
© Chris Peel
Surfing

Jack Robinson is the Australian surfer with the world at his feet

Three seasons into his World Surf League Championship Tour career, former prodigy Jack Robinson is delivering on the hype. Here's all you need to know about the man with titles and medals on his mind.
By Chris Binns
8 min readPublished on
It's been almost 12 years since West Australian wunderkind-turned-superman Jack Robinson competed on the World Surf League's Championship Tour for the first time at the Oakley Pro Bali in 2013. "I remember it!" says Robinson, "I lost to Uncle Kelly (Slater)! It’s funny, I’ll always remember that, I thought I could beat him, and I was 15."
To say that Robinson's star has been shining brightly for a long time would be an understatement. He's been surfing's Next Big Thing since he was a pre-teen blond with a bowl cut, but all of a sudden, he's not only a front-runner in the race for the number one ranking but a contender for the title of world's most popular surfer, with grommets scooping up his signature model surfboard like ice cream on a hot day.
With 2024's battle for titles and medals heating up, read on to delve deeper into the mind of Jack Robinson and find out what drives him to be the best surfer and human he can be.
01

Jack Robinson's fast facts

Jack Robinson gets ready to surf in Hawaii.

Jack Robinson always looks right at home in Hawaii

© Trevor Moran/Red Bull Content Pool

  • I was born in Perth, Western Australia, grew up in Margaret River for 20 years, and now reside on the Gold Coast in Queensland. One day, I'll come back to Western Australia to live forever.
  • I was three years old when I stood on a surfboard for the first time. I was with my Dad at Trigg Beach in Perth, Western Australia, and it was the best feeling ever.
  • My surfing heroes growing up were Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Taj Burrow, Andy and Bruce Irons and Joel Parkinson.
  • I'm 5'10"-and-a-half, not quite 5'11" (180cm). I'm 179 pounds, not quite 180 (81.6kg).
  • I just got invited to The Eddie Aikau Invitational in Hawaii. That's a big moment for me. It's a really exciting event and has been on my bucket list since I was a kid. It's probably taken 15 years to get that invite.
02

First steps to future stardom

"I was about seven years old," says Robinson, when asked if there was a moment he first realised he was good at surfing and that maybe it should be something he pursues with purpose. "I did a reverse, spun around and did a full 360 and went, 'Oh, that was pretty good!' I was pretty excited about that one."

4 min

Jack Robinson

Filmer Kim Feast showcases Western Australia's most promising young surfer, Jack Robinson.

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"A short time after that I made the final day at Taj Burrow's grom contest, Small Fries. That was the first contest I ever went in and I made the finals! On the last day, I didn't go and surf, though. I thought the waves were too big, so I hid in the sand dunes. Thankfully, I came back the next year and won the contest. After that I was like, 'OK, I'm doing this forever'."
Surfer Jack Robinson prepares to surf at North Point in West Australia

A young Jack Robinson readies to hit firing North Point

© Kim Feast

Thankfully for Robinson, by this point, his family had moved from swell-starved Perth to wave-rich Margaret River. With local heroes like Taj Burrow and Jake Paterson putting the region's name up in lights with their performances on surfing's global stage, thoughts of becoming a professional surfer himself didn't seem too far-fetched to young Robinson.
03

Doing it for the right reasons

Jack Robinson sits in the line-up at Teahupo'o in Tahiti

Jack Robinson is all smiles in Tahiti

© Domenic Mosqueira/Red Bull Content Pool

Surfing is about as close as we get to nature, and it just makes me happy. It's as simple as just getting in the ocean and going surfing and catching a wave. It makes you happy. You come out a better person
Jack Robinson surfs at Pupukea, Hawaii, on February 16, 2023.

Jack Robinson laying it on rail in Hawaii

© Ryan Miller/Red Bull Content Pool

04

Young guns, growing up fast

When Robinson was a youngster he was sponsored by Quiksilver, alongside Italy's Leonardo Fioravanti and Japan's Kanoa Igarashi. For a half-dozen years the three teen pack would turn up at every Championship Tour contest, annoy fellow Quiksilver team rider Kelly Slater, and generally just be surf-stoked kids who spent their days either surfing or running rampant around the event site.
"I'd see all the behind-the-scenes stuff," remembers Igarashi, of the trio's Access All Areas upbringing. "I'd see how all the CT guys were training, how they were preparing, what they were eating and all this intricate stuff."

21 min

No Contest – Mexico 2021

Barra de la Cruz proves to be much more than just the setting of the last event before the WSL title showdown.

Spanish

In 2021, with the world slowly righting itself post-pandemic, the Championship Tour ended up at Barra de la Cruz in Mexico. While the crew from Stab filmed an episode of No Contest at the Corona Open Mexico, struggling tour rookie Jack Robinson suddenly found his groove to claim his first ever CT trophy, with his mates Fioravanti and Igarashi by his side to help him celebrate.
Robinson's first victory opened the floodgates, and over the past three years of competition Robinson has gone on on to win a staggering six events and counting, at marquee locations such as Pipeline, Sunset, G-Land and more.
05

In fitness and in mental health

"Training is super important," says Robinson. "We always need to be healthy to perform at our best and prevent injuries. Physiotherapy, functional training, whatever it takes to prevent anything from happening, is crucial."
"I'll always carry a foam roller with me, massage gun, bands. That's about it. Do lots of stretching. I'll do a bit of yoga here and there, do a lot of breathing and and just try and feel good."
Jack Robinson prepares to surf a heat in Portugal.

Jack Robinson is always in the zone

© WSL/Geada

"Mentally, I have my coach, we talk a lot, about everything. I'm keeping it really simple at the moment and if I feel like I need to talk to somebody, I talk to the psychologist or talk to a coach, talk to our team. You always have to have someone to talk to, always have to be open. The brain's a muscle, so you have to work on your mental side. And surfing keeps you happy too!"
06

The Vortex Shaman

Jack Robinson rides the tube at Teahupo'o in Tahiti

Jack Robinson stands tall in Tahitian perfection

© Domenic Mosqueira/Red Bull Content Pool

To say Jack Robinson is one of the best tube riders in the world would be an understatement of the highest order. When you talk barrels there's John John Florence, there's Kelly Slater, there's Robinson, and then the debate begins.
Australian surf-core podcast Ain't That Swell often refers to Robinson as The Vortex Shaman, in tribute to his sensei levels of greenroom awareness, and the fact that he has already hoisted CT silverware at both Pipeline and Teahupo'o is testament to the higher plane he operates on, even with regard to the bulk of his peers.
Jack Robinson rides the tube in Hawaii

Jack Robinson, locked in

© Ryan Miller/Red Bull Content Pool

The barrel's the best thing in the world! I love getting barrelled
07

Life advice

Surfer Jack Robinson performs an aerial at North Point in Western Australia.

Jack Robinson soars into a Golden State sunset

© Kim Feast

"Just dream big bro," says Robinson, when asked what he'd say to his younger self. "I feel like if you dream big and work hard then nothing can stop you. It doesn't matter what anyone says, you know you best. You have such big power inside of you that you can dream as much as what you want and then just go out and do it. Dream!"
"Probably expectations," replies Robinson, when asked if he's ever had to deal with external drama. "External noise, external pressure, whatever. I feel like it's a big one to get over, but once you can then it's all up to you. Always be on your own game. Focus on yourself. That's easy to say, hard to do."
08

Backhand tube riding 101

5 min

Down the Line – Jack Robinson

Jack Robinson talks us through an incredible first-ever mission to Fiji.

Amazingly, after years of packing pits the width of the Pacific, it wasn't until 2023 that Robinson made it to every tubepig's Mecca, Fiji, for the first time. The addition of Cloudbreak to the 2024 CT schedule was all the incentive needed to book flights to Nadi, and while Yago Dora, Kai Lenny and João Chianca all enjoyed the mission, it was Robinson who returned home buzzing.
"I didn't really go with too many expectations," said Robinson upon his return. "I've always heard it’s amazing, but I think everyone has to go and check it out and feel that place. As soon as you get off the plane, it has a certain energy about it. I feel like Tahiti and Hawaii and all those Pacific islands are just incredible. It's the people, the waves, the environment that you're in. It's just unique.
As for Cloudbreak? "It's as good as it looks! You can come from so far behind, sit right next to the foam ball and still make sections that you would think are impossible."
With the Corona Fiji Pro touching down in August it would take a brave man to bet against the West Australian greenroom guru cutting a swathe through the field.
09

Tips for tubehounds and heroes

Jack Robinson rides the tube while surfing at Cloudbreak in Fiji.

Jack Robinson and Cloudbreak is a match made in backhand tuberiding heaven

© Chris Peel

  • Paddle hard and get a really good stroke into the wave to get speed down the face.
  • Always grab your rail when you take the drop and pull in. Dig your front knee into the wall to stall if you want as well.
  • Set your rail, set your line and let the wave take you. This requires you to trust the wave.
  • Keep your chest up and eyes locked forward at where you want to go. You want to look up at the lip and see the wave barrelling over the top of you.
  • Stay compressed and low to ensure a clean exit. Look for the next section to do a turn, or if it was a good one, you might just want to claim it because backside barrels are pretty hard and you generally feel pretty good when you come out of one.
10

Final words

"Just being in Western Australia right now makes me happy," says Robinson. "Being in my home makes me happy. I went fishing this morning, which I haven't done in two years. Just the simple things in life make me happy right now. Watching my son grow up, being with the family, and surfing. All these things make me happy right now."

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