Caught up with Mick Campbell the Ginger Ninja !
Mick Campbell aka the "Ginger Nina" is a legend.He still one of the most powefull rider on the Dream Tour with Taylor Knox.
After his departure from the Tour he makes some amazing efforts to come back on Tour in 2007 whereas he didn't have any sponsor. Now he is on place.
Stronger than ever, mentally, physically and in his surfing. Cambo can defeat everybody anywhere anytime especially in the one tour format. He invited me, at his hotel to make a career interview.
Enjoy it's Ginger Ninja Time.
Freaksurf Magazine : Hey Mick, it's an honour to have the Ginger Ninja !
Mick Campbell : My pleasure.
FSM : Precisely, where does come this nickname ?
MC : In fact, it comes from Dave Mailman, the speaker, he gave it to me. Ginger is because of my hair's colour. Then I surf fast, so Ninja.
FSM : Can you tell us about your surfing beginning ?
MC : I used to live close to the coast when I was young and my brother was a surfer, so I started with him, moreover I'm too small to play rugby ! ahahah !
FSM : The 1998 year is epic in pro surfing history, with a huge fight until the end against Kelly!
MC : Yeah, it was really hot! I didn't get so far from the world title. I just needed to win one or two more series, and i would have been world champion.
Precisely during the Hossegor Rip Curl Pro where I made a semi or during the Rio Marathon Surf Internationnal of Brazil where i lost the final against Peterson Rosa. I didn't come to Pipe with enough point to defeat Kelly.
FSM : You've been demoted two years, tell us about this period, you lost your sponsor and i red you had to borrow some money to come in France and make the Wqs in order to requalify?
MC : Morally speaking, it's been a really hard period in my life.
I lost my sponsor with no real reason, new young surfers were coming I suppose. Moreover, you know, sponsors don't like when you don't have results...this is not good.
So I search to the bottom of myself to find the motivation, and I found the Mental to come back.
I trainned very hard physically and technically. Then I decided to call my bank in order to make a 50 000 AU$ bank loan to make the 2006 complete Wqs season.
I think I'm stronger than ever. Very focus and confident in my surf.
FSM : The Dream Tour's level IS very high, but you're ripping mate ! Everybody seems to fear you especially with the new format you were devastating !
Yeah, the level this year is really high and the top 10 riders drives everybody to a higher level, with guys like Dane, Jordy and Kelly of course. The second part of is less stronger so they rank at the bottom of the table.
The new format is great, perfect, I like it ! No second chance, you got to be very focused, the most focused succeed.
FSM : What do you think about the Tour comparing to the past, it is said there is no more Charisma, excepting you, Chris Ward and Davo. Cory Lopez told me that the boys are only contests droids.
MC : Absolutely. The guys have to correspond to the surfing companies criteria who want clean guys. They have to be beautifull in the surfshop's windows for the mothers to be happy to buy clothes to their children.
I'm against that, you don't have to change anything but be yourself. But everywhere it's the same thing.
You see basketball, there's no more Denis Rodman. In moto racing no more Valentino Rossi.
Those guys were charismatic and fans come to see such guys.
FSM : You've lost your friend Danny Wills this year, how do you feel ?
MC : Joker !
FSM : Who are you going to travel with now ? Do you still travelling with your girlfriend ?
MC : Most of time I travel alone and catch the other aussies on event site.
Or with Phil Macca Mac Donald, I know him since so many time. I travel with junior Matt Bantling too.
My girlfriend has an important job that takes many time she's very busy you know...But we are pretty cloth in our relationship but it's hard to be separated sometime 2 months.
You got to be strong.
FSM : The rebel tour, what do you think about it ?
This is a good thing for surfing. For the moment the world is headed by the 3 main surfing companies, Quiksilver, Billabong and Rip Curl. They lead everything, tv rights, photos, money...
With the Rebel tour, there gonna be more money, of course, which is good for surfers, but moreover an opening to the wholeworld , other companies and everything gonna be shared.
The surfers choice will be fair for sure and won't be Kelly and friends tour.
FSM : What do you think about Dane and Wardo, it is said they they don't really care about the tour.
MC : That's completly wrong, you can believe me, when you see Dane paddling in heat with an another guy, he's checking everything and he is very focus. He wouldn't have made the Trestes final if he didn't care.
Considering Wardo, look at what he's doing in Teahuppo, he takes big Barrels, in small waves he can be able to boost every airs he wants. Sometimes you miss a heat by few points, you need to be lucky in surfing. Then you have to forget and pass to the next event on and on.
FSM : It must be very difficult. Look at Nathaniel Curran, winner of the wqs and out of the World Tour.
MC : The World Tour is totally different from the Wqs, you need to be very focus. When you loose by a little, you got to stay focus, forget and go to the next event.
FSM : What about your new sponsor Ocean and Earth ? How did you met ?
MC : After loosing my sponsor, I made the Wqs without sponors in 2006.When I requalifyed, Kelly's manager, Belly, called me and told me : " Hey Cambo, I got a sponsor for you, Gotcha ", I raised the arms to heaven and shout, Yesssssssssssssssss !
FSM : This company have talented riders with you, macca, bobby...do you have relationship with them?
MC : It's a good surfing company with a Great Team, Macca who I know since a long time, Bobby who's on tour and all the others...
FSM : What's your relationship with your shaper ?
MC : I don't have a main shaper. I travel with a 6 boards quiver, most of time, because we break a lot, you know.
FSM : Are we gonna see you in a video this year ?
MC : Yeah, I got a sequence in the next team's video.
FSM : A career video ?
MC : Yes, that's a good idea I would have to take a whole year to gather all the videos.
FSM : Willsy has retired, when will you retire ?
MC : At 55 !
FSM : What are your doing when you're not surfing on event? What are your hobbies?
MC : I go surfing as mush as possible, I take time to prepare my boards and focus on my health.
FSM : Craziest thing ever done ?
MC : I've done to many crazy thing in my life, you know some of them but we can't write them down here. Jumping from a plane was a crazy one!
FSM : Let's talk about those tatooes, what does they mean especially the Yoda's one?
MC : It's a pasion, all of them have a special meaning, muche more are to come. It's hard to go surfing you know when you've just made one.
FSM : What are your favorite manovers and how do you define your surfing ?
MC : Power ! A 6 foot wave, a drop, big bottom turn, taking a maximum of speed to the lip and there a power carve with a huge spray ! This is my style !
FSM : Tatooes, madness, big charger, are sure you don't come from marouba, a Bra Boys?
MC : No no, for sure, but those guy are really cool and very funny I know some of them
FSM : Are we gonna see you in slabs like ours or cyclope ?
MC : Yes but when i'll be retired from competition, but not in monsters !
Best of Cambo :
Career moment : the 2 french victories on wqs
Most impressive rider : Danny Wills
Best Trip : Those last years were my best trip !
Place to surf en live : Port Macquarie at home
Event : King of the Groms 09
Board : Don't have a magic one for the moment,
FSM : Now, if you have to make a drive thru, choose your destination and your crew !
Danny Wills, Matt Hoy, and Matt Bantling for a trip on the Aussie east coast; for the drive thru, the hilltop hoods!!! australian hiphop band..
Thanks Ginger Ninja !
Interview : Johann Mouchel / Freaksurf Mag
Photo credit : Ocean & Earth, Kirstin Scholtz, Sandrine Le Gal, Raphaël Lerévérend / Freaksurf Mag and Johann Mouchel / Freaksurf Mag