The Gold Coast wun­derkind who thrives on com­pe­ti­tion.

Tracks - - Contents - By Luke Kennedy.

While Ju­lian Wilson is well in con­tention for his first world ti­tle, there have been re­cent rum­blings about Aus­tralia los­ing its grip on the up­per ech­e­lons of pro­fes­sional surf­ing. In such un­cer­tain times it’s re­as­sur­ing to know there are young surfers in Oz who look set to tear their way into the ranks of the WCT in a few years time. 12-year-old Ty Richard­son, who lives at Palm Beach and surfs for Snap­per Rocks, has a long way to go and we don’t want to place any un­nec­es­sary pres­sure on the kid, but he cer­tainly ap­pears to have the mak­ings of a cham­pion, pro­fes­sional surfer. Ty’s un­cle, Joel Parkin­son, is the per­fect men­tor for the young, Gold Coast rip­per. “Ty is a great kid with a huge amount of tal­ent! Not to men­tion he comes from a fam­ily where surf­ing runs in our blood,” sug­gests Joel. “I can’t wait to see what the fu­ture holds for him!”

Ty’s fa­ther, Mark, is a five-times Aus­tralian cham­pion and a full-time coach, while Mum, Bianca, is a Natur­opath who en­sures her prodi­gious son is fu­elling his am­bi­tions with the right food.

Last year Ty went on a blitz, rack­ing up more than half a dozen vic­to­ries in pres­ti­gious ju­nior events. So far this year he’s al­ready won the Bede Dur­bidge grom comp and the Ea­ger Beaver Me­mo­rial Pairs event, where he teamed up with un­cle Joel.

It seems like you have your heart set on pur­su­ing a ca­reer as a pro­fes­sional surfer. Tell us about your coach­ing and train­ing sched­ule? I have been surf­ing since I was re­ally young; as my fam­ily owns a surf school I surf ev­ery day there are waves. My dad has been a coach for a long time so I train a lot with him. Also at school I’m in The Palm Beach Cur­rumbin State High School surf­ing ex­cel­lence pro­gram, so I get to surf even at school now. My train­ing also in­cludes surf

fit­ness, gym, swimming and breath train­ing – plus I try to eat healthy. It is my dream to be able to travel around the world and surf pump­ing waves for my job.

Do you think it’s im­por­tant to keep school­work in fo­cus also? Yes, for sure it’s my first year of high school as well as the surf­ing pro­gram. I’m in the aca­demic ex­cel­lence pro­gram too so I have heaps more home­work. So I def­i­nitely have to take time out to study and do my as­sign­ments on time. Most of my school-work I com­plete when there’s no swell so I can surf more when it’s pump­ing. I think manag­ing surf­ing time and school-work is im­por­tant.

Your un­cle Joel is well known for be­ing one of the most stylish surfers ever to pick up a board. Does his rep­u­ta­tion for flow and form on rail in­flu­ence how you ap­proach surf­ing? Yeah, I love watch­ing un­cle Joel surf. We have al­ways watched ev­ery heat he surfs on the WSL tour, plus his old videos, and I learn heaps try­ing to take things out of his surf­ing that I can put into my own.

Does Joel go surf­ing with you? Does he let you drop in on him if he snags a deep one? Yeah, he does I re­mem­ber one surf to­gether, when I was younger at Snap­per, and Joel would take off on the set be­hind the rock and then I would sit down the line and drop in on him. In Jan­uary we were stoked we won the lo­cal Ea­ger Beaver Me­mo­rial – a pairs comp. Joel reck­ons I got the high­est scores in the semis but he de­fi­antly helped us claim the win in the Fi­nals. Joel has also taken me on his jet ski to do step-offs, help­ing me get com­fort­able on the ski.

Are you com­fort­able be­hind the rock at Snap­per? I love surf­ing be­hind the rock. I have got a few cuts from get­ting washed into the rocks and I’ve had some big wipe-outs from the back­wash. Surf­ing be­hind the rock is so fun but there is al­ways a bit of fear when you’re pad­dling for one from way back. It can be scary jump­ing off the rocks too but I’m used to it now.

Do you spend a lot of time de­vel­op­ing your pro­gres­sive at­tack? I love try­ing pro­gres­sive moves and push­ing my­self to go big­ger and bet­ter with my reper­toire. In be­tween comps I try to have a few ses­sions where I just go as big as I can on ev­ery sec­tion.

Can you find the bal­ance be­tween airs and rail surf­ing? Who is do­ing the best job of it now? Yeah, I def­i­nitely try to find a good bal­ance be­tween rail surf­ing and airs. I think Italo Fer­reira has been surf­ing next level lately, es­pe­cially at Kera­mas. His back­hand airs were so sick and his turns were too. I re­ally like how on one wave he was do­ing back to back, back­side turns and then fin­ish­ing the wave with a lofty air.

Whose footage do you have on high ro­ta­tion? My un­cle Joel Parkin­son, Italo Fer­reira, Grif­fin Co­lap­into and Michel Bourez are the main four that I like to watch to get psyched be­fore a surf. They are all dif­fer­ent surfers and ab­so­lutely rip in their own way.

What do you love about com­pet­ing? I love try­ing to per­form at the high­estlevel I can un­der pres­sure and the com­pet­i­tive­ness and strate­gic side of com­pet­ing is so cool. I like to try and test my­self against the best surfers.

Is Snap­per Rocks the best train­ing ground? Snap­per is a world class train­ing ground; you can prac­tice bar­rels, airs, snaps and carves all on one wave at Snap­per. The lo­cal beachies are good to surf too, so I can dodge the crowds. My dad’s a goofy foot so we al­ways try and find some lefts to work on my back­hand too.

Are you al­ready con­scious of the need to

learn to surf other waves? Reefs and slabs and beachies etc? Do you get away? I re­ally try to vary the type of waves I surf. I think there needs to be a bal­ance be­tween surf­ing reefs, point-breaks and beachies so you are a well rounded surfer.

With so much train­ing, com­pet­ing and time in the wa­ter, what’s your se­cret for en­sur­ing it’s all still fun? To keep it fun I like chang­ing up my boards and try­ing to land big­ger moves. Also, chang­ing the waves you surf keeps it fun. Like one day surf Snap­per, then next surf a beachie. Mix­ing it up I can ride all types of waves and dif­fer­ent kinds of boards. I work closely with my dad and my board shaper try­ing new boards as I’m al­ways pre­par­ing for the next comp or surf trip. Surf­ing also brings my mates to­gether whether we are free surf­ing, com­pet­ing or trav­el­ling to find the per­fect waves. That re­ally is what makes surf­ing so much fun.

Ty Richard­son em­ploy­ing clas­sic style as he threads a crys­talline cub­by­hole. Photo: Nico­las Pala­cios

Photo: Pete Frieden

Ty adding a lit­tle panache to a clean face carve in Hawaii.

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