At sixteen years old, Macy Callaghan has a promising career in professional surfing. After an excellent start to her 2016 campaign, she is currently on the cusp of qualifying for the World Tour in 2017.
When and how did you start surfing?
My dad, Gabe Callaghan was actually a professional surfer. He competed in a few World Tour events back in the day, so he’s always been really into surfing and my whole family are into water sports. My older sister Cody-Leigh is a dual Australian Surf Life Saving Champion and I also did nippers and swam competitively when I was younger. My dad said we needed a surfer in the family, so he chucked me on a surfboard and it kind of just grew from there. I first stood up on a longboard with my dad when I was three and then by myself, when I was about five.
What have been your major achievements so far?
This year I won the Australasian Pro Junior Tour (winning 5 out of 8 events) and the QS1000 Pro in Burleigh Heads. In 2015, I also came second at the ISA World Games in California and won my fourth Australian title.
In competition, you always seem to surf without any stress. How do you manage that?
I’m a pretty carefree person so I don’t like to put pressure on myself at all. Even If I know I have a good chance of winning, I always think that everyone is beatable and that anyone can beat me. I also always try and pretend that no one is watching or judging and just surf like I usually do.
“I definitely want to be on the World Tour when I’m still in my teens.”
Was this year your first time surfing full time on the QS?
Yes, I did most of them, apart from the QS3000 overseas… I wanted to keep up in the top 24. That was my main goal this season so next year I can be in the highest round.
But if you get a good result in Cronulla, you could already qualify for the World Tour. Have you thought about it?
It was really surprising actually. I didn’t expect to go so well. But if I get a really great result in Cronulla anything could happen. I’ll just have to wait and see. I have thought about the result a lot. My sponsors and my parents are always wondering and everyone around me is always asking me about it, but I’ll give everyone an answer when the time comes.
If it happens, it would make it hard for you to go to school next year… How do feel about that?
Yeah, it’s kind of tricky. I have people coming up to me and asking me about it… I could put off going on tour but I think these days you only get one shot. If I did choose to go back a year later and then didn’t make it, that would be very hard. And I definitely want to be on the World Tour when I’m still in my teens.
“I’m not afraid to say it… I believe I can become a World Champion one day.”
You’re also not afraid to say that you think you can be a world champion…
I’m not afraid to say that because I do believe that I can become a world champion one day… 100%. I back myself and I always believe in myself no matter what I do. I’m also really competitive so if I train for it and always give 100%, I do believe I can be a world champion. I’m sure everyone is thinking the same as me, so anything is possible. I’d just love to make it onto the World Tour and be one of the top women in the world.
Would you say 6 x World Champion Stephanie Gilmore is one of your inspirations?
She is for sure! She’s amazing. I love her and have a big girl crush on her. What she’s done for women’s surfing is incredible. She really is a great role model and ambassador for surfing.
What’s a typical day like for you when you’re at home and when you’re away surfing?
When there aren’t any comps on I mostly hang out and go surfing with my friends and family. When I have an event on I always arrive a few days early so I can free surf at the break and get in sync as much as I can. I also like to do a bit of sightseeing and find good cafes and places to eat. It can be hard to find the right places when you are in a foreign country so I like to be prepared and get my bearings early on. Other than that I surf and stretch a lot and just keep my health up in general.
Do you train often?
I don’t train that much when I know I don’t have a comp on for a while. And I think just going for a free surf is one of the best things anyone can do for practice anyway. My dad is my main coach and that’s how we do it. I do also have a trainer at home who I do two gym sessions a week with and I also swim laps twice a week. Oh and when I can fit it in I do a few of my own stretches.
“I don’t really follow a strict diet. I love eating food. It’s pretty much a hobby.”
Do you follow a strict diet?
Not really, no. I love eating food. It’s pretty much a hobby.
You’ve travelled quite a lot with surfing. Where are best places you’ve been to?
I’ve been to lots of different places this year but I think Spain was the most amazing, mainly because it was so beautiful and so different from home. The waves weren’t as good as some of the places I’ve been but I loved the culture difference. I also went to Macaronis in Indonesia in April this year and the waves were amazing there. That was definitely one of my best surf trips.
Do you have any trips coming up?
I just came back from Hawaii where I was for the Billabong Boardlands Camp and then I’ll head to Sydney and up the coast in Queensland for some fun surfing towards the end of the year. When I was a bit younger I had the travel bug and never wanted to be at home but after so much travel this year, being home in my own bed and with my friends and family is really great.
You’re also quite into marine conservation. Where did your interest come from and could you potentially see a career in for yourself one day?
At school I’ve excelled in marine studies, and spending so much time in diverse environments, in different countries puts everything into perspective. It makes me realise how lucky we are in Australia and that we should always maintain the beautiful places we live in. Seeing so much rubbish and plastic in the water in some places like Indonesia, while I’m out surfing with turtles, was especially disheartening and eye-opening. I would love to make a difference where I can.