Young Gun Surfer Barrels Towards Dreams

Some people are just born to be in the water. It is apparent in their every move, a connection to the environment that can be hard to explain but is always there. Teenage Central Coast surfer Macy Callaghan certainly possesses this indefinable quality in spades, and is hoping that her background in Surf Life Saving can ultimately propel her to the heady heights of the professional tour.

Macy will shortly pack her surfboard and bags for America where she will represent Australia at the ISA World Junior Championships which is just the start of a whirl-wind period for the 14-year-old who will spend plenty of time on the road as she juggles her studies, chasing waves and ranking points.

For the Callaghan family surf life saving and the ocean has always been a huge part of their lives, and Macy recalls with fondness the first time she stood up on a board and her early years in Nippers.

“I was very young I think I was about 6, and I stood up on my dad’s long board actually and I did a bit of body boarding as well. My love for surfing has just grown from there,” she said.

“I have been involved in Surf Life Saving since I was six years old and I started at Terrigal after watching my sisters compete. When I got a little older I moved to Avoca and began competing in the Under 8s.

“It really was a family thing – dad did it, both my older sisters did it. I was always at the beach so I got involved too.”

Though she was young, she quickly realised that she was learning skills that would foster an ongoing love and respect for the ocean.

“I just really loved the surf awareness of it all. I learned so much like how to read breaks, tides, waves, and of course rips. It was a lot of fun to make new friends and spend time at the beach as well.”

If success is a combination of skills, luck, and environment, then Macy didn’t have to look too far for inspiration. Her older sister was a champion on the race board, and her club Avoca Beach consistently punches above its weight when it comes to producing talented water athletes across a broad discipline of sports.

“My best event throughout Nippers has always been the board, although I really liked Ironwoman racing the best because I enjoy endurance events more than the short stuff,” Callaghan said.

“My sister won the Australian titles and was one of Avoca’s best in board paddling and Ironwoman, and I have done a bit of training with Daniel Shade and he’s one of the best board paddlers around, winning a world title. There are so many good competitors coming out of Avoca.”

Though surfing takes up much of her time, Macy was determined to finish her career in Nippers. In March she finished fourth in the board race at the NSW titles with barely any training, and at the first ever stand-alone NSW Board Riding Championships in August she claimed two gold medals against her fellow clubbies.

“I’ve had to cut back on the Nippers a bit and haven’t really been able to do it as much as I would like due to surfing commitments. I’ve been training really hard to go as far as I can with surfing, but Nippers has definitely got me to where I am now.”

Macy says that the guys in surfing competition are very supportive, and she hopes her success in the sport sends a message to other girls who might be a bit hesitant about picking up a board and having a go.

“Don’t be intimidated by the boys, half the girls out there can surf as well if not better than the guys. So get out there, have fun, and enjoy it.

“I love surfing and the connection I feel to the water, but I want to prove to everyone that girls can surf and that they can make a difference in the sport and it’s not all about looking good. I just love surfing and want to be the best.”

And you never know, Macy Callaghan’s best could one day take her to the very top.

Tue 6 Oct 2015