Tour Talk: Iain Campbell.

Tour Talk: Iain Campbell.

By Dan Dobbin.

The newly minted I.B.C. world tour had its wings clipped even before it could launch this year. Now seems a pertinent time to catch up with some of the tours top performers to get their thoughts on how having no tour has impacted on their lives, and their thoughts on what a world tour should or could look like into the future.

First up, 2017 World Champ Iain Campbell.

What have you missed about competing on the world tour this year?

I have really missed getting good waves with my mates and seeing familiar faces around the world. Places like Brazil and Chile where I get to stay with some amazing families has really been a bit of a bummer not seeing them all this year.

Along with that I really miss the competitive scene. It’s super addictive getting to events and having the kind of anxiety to compete and the joys of winning. It’s been tough but at the same time I have really needed a break. I felt so burnt out last year. I kinda wish it had happened for me then but this is also good in a way to keep me sane and very hungry for more competitions. 

What have you enjoyed about not competing this year?

I have really enjoyed the time off. Living with my girlfriend in SA, we only really spend about 6 months together and having this break means a lot of time to catch up on what we really enjoy doing. We get to surf and take some drives around our area and this has been a good time to connect.

I also spent 3 months out the water and that’s been sick to just take a rest. As I said before, getting to 2019 and being so burnt out had a massive affect on me and my health.

This break means I can focus on getting back into peak physical shape, surf waves for the enjoyment and do what I want to do. 

Image: @tayhylandphoto

Has the break from the tour made you reevaluate competing on the tour next year?

Not at all. I am still very keen to compete at as many events I can. I am a competitor by nature. I love to go to events and fight for titles. I did realise a goal early in the year by winning pipe and that really put me in a positive mind frame for the years to come and what is actually possible for me. 

Has it affected your sponsorship situation?

 I feel that everyone has been affected in some way or another. It’s not a topic that is spoken about much in our sport but yes my sponsorships have been affected.

Lockdown training. Image:@rosie_lombard

 Do you think that the current world tour model is the best format for crowning a world champion?

This is always such a tough question to answer. I think multiple events should count towards a world title. I don’t think having a one event world title makes sense. Someone could get lucky and someone could get unlucky. I find an average of at least 3 events will be the best way.

In saying this I also feel in our industry, getting to 8-10 events a year on a budget that isn’t nearly enough is also a bit absurd. 


I think the model needs to be structured in a different way but I really do feel that we need multiple events. Another way of doing it would be selecting 4/5 events and having those events count for an overall title. If guys can make the other events then so be it, if not then that’s also not affecting their standing. 

Do you think that the current world tour model is sustainable going forward in a post covid world?

This is the best question and I am happy to be honest with my answer. In simple NO!

The reason is that so many countries have been infected by COVID-19. All our events are run by the government funding and the effect of COVID-19 on government is real drastic. If we want to continue with a sustainable sure we will need to find alternative funding for the events.

I am not sure even next year if we will get the funding that is needed for a full world tour. It is going to be Very interesting to see what happens in the world in 2021. I hope I am wrong about this but with my limited knowledge on the economy it is going to be very difficult for governments to provide funding for sporting events throughout the country is that we travel.

Due to the fact that majority of these countries are actually third world countries this is going to affect them hugely. 

Pipe winner 2020.

If “No”, how would you like to see a world champion crowned?

I don’t feel we need to Crown a world champion in 2020.

But maybe there is another way to look at it.

Maybe looking at multiple events happening around the world with points going towards an overall title but everyone needs an equal chance in getting those points.

With travel and sponsorship being slim to none, this is going to be a big ask. With government funding declining due to the COVID-19 it is going to be very interesting to see how these events are funded going forward.

I really wish only the best to these events because I want to see them succeed and in turn allow us to travel and make money overseas.

Hopefully 2021 is looking a lot more positive than what we can see has happened in 2020!

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