Aussie star Ewing taps into surfing genes

·2-min read

Rising Australian surf star Ethan Ewing says he will dedicate the WSL world title to his late mother and the rest of his family if he is able to triumph in California this week.

Ewing and Jack Robinson carry Australia's hopes in the men's world title race after qualifying third and second respectively on the Championship Tour standings.

Stephanie Gilmore, who finished fifth in the women's rankings, will be aiming to secure a remarkable eighth world title when she competes at the season-ending WSL Finals.

While Robinson is somewhat of a child prodigy who always seemed destined for greatness, Ewing's dramatic rise to title contender this year has taken people by surprise.

The 24-year-old finished a lowly 15th last season and was filled with self doubts heading into 2022.

But starring on the surf stage is in his genes, with Ewing's late mother Helen winning at Bells Beach in 1983.

Ewing was just six years old when she died, but she will be firmly in his thoughts when he competes at the one-day winner-takes-all WSL Finals in Lower Trestles in California.

"She's been a huge inspiration for me with what she did in her surfing career," Ewing told AAP.

"I remember going to the beach and surfing with her. They are really good memories for sure.

"There were a few clips (of her competing) that I've been able to watch. Not many, but I've seen a few over the years.

"I look to my dad for inspiration as well, and also my brothers. They've all helped me a lot along the way."

Ewing said a greater dedication to the tour this year played a huge role in helping transform him into a title contender.

"Last year I had a few good moments but I didn't have the best year. I was definitely having doubts about going into this year," Ewing said.

"This year I've gone to the events really early to try to learn the waves a lot more.

"I think putting a lot more effort has paid off this year."

Ewing will take on the winner of the fourth-against-fifth match-up of Italo Ferreira and Kanoa Igarashi.

A win there would set up a battle with Robinson, with the winner of that to take on world No.1 Filipe Toledo in the title showdown.

Gilmore faces a tough battle in the women's finals, given she qualified fifth.

If she can beat Brisa Hennessy, Tatiana Weston-Webb and Johanne Defay, then world No.1 Carissa Moore lies in wait.