Through the bond of a wave.

New Zealand Surfing - - Dragon Fly's Den - WORDS: JE­MARL PAER­ATA PHO­TOS: (UN­LESS MARKED) RYAN WIL­LIAMS

As surfers, noth­ing re­ally grabs hold of our in­ner emo­tions more than rid­ing that per­fect wave, some even say cer­tain waves can be life chang­ing. As grom­met surfers we all live in this bub­ble where noth­ing else mat­ters, then the in­evitable takes hold in life - we grow up, leave school, be­gin work, per­haps get mar­ried, and for some, bring new life into the world. Just when you thought a wave was the most im­por­tant item in life along comes par­ent­hood and blows that com­pletely out the door. If any­thing is truly life chang­ing it is cre­at­ing a life and be­com­ing a par­ent. As we now ap­proach our third gen­er­a­tion of surfers, over these years since surf­ing be­came part of our lives and past-times, be­ing able to pass on and share some­thing so spe­cial to ones self and see the stoke de­velop as your child rides their first wave and then kicks-on to drag you out surf­ing ev­ery­day, that’s a pretty spe­cial feel­ing. To continue to live our dreams and watch our off­spring live theirs on their own jour­ney through life is some­thing that you’d find it hard to come up with the words to de­scribe. How­ever Piha’s Je­marl Paer­ata gave it a nudge and he takes us on his jour­ney from his own days of surf­ing through to the one he shares now with his son El­liot as they find the time of their lives, to­gether.

Ko Ton­gariro te Maunga Ko Taupo te Moana Ko Te Heu Heu te tan­gata Ko Ngati Tuwhare­toa te Iwi Ko Ngati Te Ko­hera te Hapu Ko Je­marl Paer­ata tohu in­goa tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou ka­toa. In the last cou­ple of years my son El­liot has been all over the world and rubbed shoul­ders with some of the best surfers on the planet. When I was his age, 16, the clos­est I’d come to surf­ing was star­ing at a faded poster on my bed­room wall, in a small in­land town full of rugby heads. I got my big break when my fam­ily shifted tem­po­rar­ily to Aus­tralia. With a job in a fish and chip shop I layby-ed the first surf­board I came across. Yep… she was a beauty, a lip stix twin fin with a green al­li­ga­tor on it found down at the lo­cal cash con­vert­ers. I thought surf­ing would be like any other sport I’d tried and I’d be pretty flash in no time. You know, I’d be pulling in at pipe­line like the guy on my poster…… wrong!!!!!Trust me, I learnt the hard way. I got caught in rips, smashed on rocks, held un­der, you name it, and only af­ter weeks of that did I fig­ure out you needed wax on your board. Decades on I haven’t im­proved much but thanks to El­liot, I’ve trav­eled to surf breaks all over the show. The world ju­niors in Peru and Panama, comps from Cal­i­for­nia to Aus­tralia. My wife Mel has been to France twice to the world fi­nals of the King of the Groms af­ter he won the NZ ti­tle back to back. This has fol­lowed years of at­tend­ing ev­ery grom comp and surf comp known to ex­ist in NZ. Com­pet­i­tive surf­ing is a tough game and I am proud of El­liot’s ded­i­ca­tion and his achieve­ments, but I am equally proud of him be­ing an all round good sort who hasn’t ditched his old man. He still hoots me in the line up and waits till we are be­hind closed doors be­fore he gives me surf­ing tips or tells me about some of my weaker points. Nias in North Su­ma­tra is one of our favourite places. The fact that I can travel and hol­i­day with my son, pad­dle out with him to some of the best bar­rels on earth, see him get the rides of his life, hon­estly ranks amongst the high­est points in my life. It’s not just about lov­ing Nias and lov­ing the waves, it’s about tak­ing time out of the life - work cy­cle and just hang­ing out with my boy. Mel al­ways says if our lives were to turn to cus­tard to­mor­row, at least we would know we’ve spent weeks and months hav­ing the time of our lives. As she puts it, way bet­ter to spend our money on liv­ing than on a de­signer bath­room.

EL­LIOT DIS­PLAYS THE FRUITS OF MANY YEARS OF PARENTAL SUP­PORT AND BE­ING ABLE TO TRAVEL AND SURF HIGH QUAL­ITY

DES­TI­NA­TIONS.

EL­LIOT FO­CUSSED ON A CLEAN EXIT FROM A NIAS GREEN ROOM.

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