Philippa Anderson says watching the stunning comeback of clubmate and training partner Ryan Callinan has fired her up for a shot at making the championship tour (CT) this week at the Port Stephens Toyota Pro.
Anderson is 11th on the qualifying series (QS) but seventh when CT positions are factored into the race for a top-six finish and place on the top women's surfing tour. A wildcard, the top 10 on the CT and best six on the QS outside those qualified make the following year’s tour each season.
Chasing a maiden berth on the CT, Anderson has been within sight of a full-time spot four times and last year was 12th on the QS heading to the inaugural year-ending 6000-point Port Stephens Pro. She progressed through two heats but fell to Teresa Bonvalot 14.16-13.57 in the round of 16, meaning she did not improve on her best-five points tally for the season.
This year, the 26-year-old needs to get through two heats to improve on her overall points but she will require a quarter-final appearance or better to qualify. The event at Birubi Beach, Anna Bay, is set to start Thursday.
Providing inspiration this time around is Callinan, who is second on the men’s QS and all but assured of making the CT for a second year after 6000 and 10,000-point wins. Callinan qualified at the end of 2015 but has since dealt with the loss of his parents.
“It's been so cool to just see the dedication Ryan has,” Anderson said.
“When he used to live with my brother [Craig Anderson], I used to go over there and see the sacrifices he was making, and if you want to get to the top, that's what you've got to do.
“It's so cool to see it's paid off for such an awesome guy.
“It's definitely got me fired up. If he can deal with the things he's gone through … hopefully it just fires you up, and that's what’s happened.”
A semi-final appearance at Surfest and quarter-final effort in the US have put Anderson within striking distance and she was hoping her experience will hold her in good stead at the deciding event.
“It's been like that for the last few years, just that familiar feeling of needing to do well,” she said of the season finale.
“There's a handful of us under pressure but I'm feeling pretty relaxed just going into this one. I'm just excited for the season to be finished and we've just been doing what we can for the prep.
“I'll just take it heat by heat. I've been in the situation before, the last couple of years now, so hopefully it goes my way, and if not, I guess God has another plan for me, but I've been having fun lately and hopefully I can get through a couple.
“I'd say there would be at least 10 of us who could potentially make the semi-final and qualify so with our sport you can't really be thinking about anyone else and what happens in the water besides just focusing on what you do.”
Anderson starts in heat nine of round three against India Robinson. Fellow Newcastle surfers Amelie Bourke and Madison Poole are in round one and adopted Novocastrian Sarah Baum begins in round two. The Port Stephens Pro also has a 1000-point men’s event.