18 year-old shredder Kael Walsh has been conditioned by Western Australia’s hollow and rampy waves his whole life. He’s tough as nails and his surfing shows it. You might remember him from the Margaret River Pro as a local wildcard before the sharks put the kibosh on the event. He’s doing the ‘QS this year but remains equally committed to dropping hammers in edits too.
In the span of a month, Walsh and his good mate, filmer Myles Carroll, managed to string together an impressive edit of deep tubes and big punts, two things West Oz surfers are known for. Taj Burrow, godfather of West Oz tubing and punting, is in this new edit too.
SURFER rang Walsh up for a quick chat on his ‘CT experience and what’s on the horizon for the 18 year-old West Oz local.
It's pretty rad you can nail this many clips for an edit in a month, tell us about it?
We filmed it around April when the Margies comp was on, there weren't any big swells with real big surf or anything but we got some fun waves at Cobbles and another wave. There's a bit of the comp in the edit as well, like me eating shit [laughs].
I saw that in the broadcast, that wipeout looked pretty heavy (1:32).
I thought Gabby [Medina] was going to go on that wave, I was looking at him like, "Are you gonna go? It's such a good one." He was sitting on the other side of me and I didn't have priority so I figured he was going to go on that wave. I looked back and he wasn't even looking at the wave, so I was like, "Oh shit!" and tried to scratch it last minute but just went over. I hit the bottom, cut my foot and snapped my leggy in that heat as well.
That was you first 'CT heat ever right?
Yeah, nothing was going my way. [Laughs] It was so annoying.
How'd you feel when the canceled the contest because of the sharks?
I was pretty rattled but I saw where the WSL was coming from. They had a choice but with two shark attacks it would be pretty gnarly to keep the event going on. If there was only one they probably could've kept going but I was pretty devastated. It's annoying because I would've got to surf against Julian [Wilson] and stuff. I didn't want to super dread on things or have a little cry on social media or anything because that's not going to get you anywhere. I still had fun while it lasted.
Are they going to add anymore wildcards to make up for it?
They're thinking about doing a makeup comp somewhere. They could probably do it at Sunset when the Pipe contest is on but I don't see it happening, it's too much money for them. I got a little bit more prize money from Margies than if I would've got knocked out in an earlier round. I was stoked on that.
In this edit you seem pretty keen on that red board, what were you riding?
That's a 5'11" Proton. When I'm at home and not doing comps I'll just pick a board and ride it ’til it dies. When you're doing punts and stuff over here in West Oz, where there's power in the water, you can kind of ride anything. So I'll just ride something until it breaks, and that board in the edit has been living longer than most of my boards. It's my little red rocket.
Just making clips and going on good surf trips. I'm going to the 'QS event in Chile in a week. There's good waves there I heard, it's at that slab where they had that Rip Curl Search comp that one year. I'll make a clip in Chile, then probably go to Indo then come home. I don't really plan out my whole year, I kinda just wing it.
That spot in Chili is gnarly, I remember when Andy Irons won that contest, it's a crazy wave.
I was talking to Taj about it today, yeah Andy won that one. The wave looks sick, I'm pretty keen to go over there [laughs].
It's rad to see Taj in your edit.
Yeah, I chucked him in there, why not? [Laughs] I surfed with Taj today and he was frothing that we put him in there. We asked just in case we wasn't keen on it but he was sweet.