Aussie reveals ‘amazing’ inspiration behind title push
Three events into this year’s World Surf Championship Tour, Ewing is the top-ranked male Aussie off the back of a third-place finish at the Sunset Beach Pro in Hawaii.
With a confidence boost from the podium placing, the North Stradbroke Island local believes he has what it takes to ring the iconic bell at the competition’s close.
“The spot where I achieved third place at is a similar wave to Bells,” Ewing told Wide World of Sports.
“I feel like it suits my surfing a lot, there’s a lot of power in the waves and it’s kind of raw and rugged. I feel like it’s going to set me up well.
“I don’t have too much experience at Bells, I’ve only surfed one event there in 2017 – my first year on tour – but I feel like I’m learning the wave, it’s a tricky wave but I’ve been enjoying the learning.”
At just 18 years of age, Ewing rapidly qualified for the international tour, becoming the youngest Australian surfer to compete for the world title in 20 years.
Now aged 23 and with five years of touring experience, Ewing admits he finally feels settled having grown into the competitive lifestyle.
“In my first few years on tour I didn’t feel like I was exactly ready,” he said.
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“But now I’ve found my feet and I’m feeling a lot more comfortable in my surfing and who I am.
“I’m a lot more prepared and I really believe I can beat the top guys and be in that top part of the tour.
“This year especially I’ve felt really confident in my surfing and it’s kind of just been a few little mistakes in my heats that have cost me. I could have done a lot better if I didn’t make those mistakes.
“This year feels like the first year that I’m living up to my potential.”
With the event notching up its 59th edition this year, taming the explosive right-hand break of Bells has been attempted by many legendary surfers and is steeped in tradition.
“It’s the longest-running professional surfing event in the world. Also, all my favourite surfers have won the event – Andy Irons, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Kelly Slater – they’ve all won it multiple times so it’s really important,” said Ewing.
“It’s also a really hard wave to ride, it’s open to a lot of swell and it’s definitely not a perfect wave so it’s really tricky.”
Adding to his connection with Bells Beach, Ewing’s late mother, Helen Ewing, is a previous winner at the spot.
“Mum won (‘Bell’ of the Bells Beach Pro) in ’83, so well before I was born, but she was an amazing surfer,” he said.
“She came from Queensland – it’s so different to down here (on the southern coast of Victoria) and then to win Bells is a huge accomplishment.
“That kind of adds to the reason why I’d like to do well here. It would be cool to honour her in that way.
“One of the reasons why I surf as much as I do now is because of my Mum and Dad who taught me.”
With the tour schedule beginning to open in front him, Ewing is aspiring to finish the season ranked in the top 10.
The Bells Beach Pro kicks off Sunday with the competition running through until Wednesday 20 March.
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