We're reserving this spot for those local guys & girls that adorn surf spots the length of Aotearoa, living for the purity and stoke of each and every surf at their local. They don't chase the limelight, nor really care what is going on amongst the world surfing scene. They're just surfing for the love of it, whenever they can. This issue we're introducing a man, who when it comes to being from NZ, has a rather unfortunate nickname of ‘Sheep.’
Mt Maunganui local, Alex 'Sheep' Sutherland shares some life facts.
Being from NZ and with most of the world dishing out Sheep jokes how did you come up with the nickname ‘Sheep’?
Haha! Back at college I had a full fleece of golden locks that were relentlessly trimmed into a mullet during an English class. My mum took me to get a haircut that afternoon because she was too embarrassed to be seen with me. Everyone in our smart-ass surfing group had a nickname and sheep just stuck.
What’s being the best moment when you were introduced to someone as ‘Sheep from New Zealand” ?
Haven’t had any memorable moments, Auzzies love to have a laugh but other foreigners think my name is ‘Shape’ because our accents are so cooked and we can’t say sheep properly.
When and how did you first get in to surfing?
I used to spend every school holidays in Whangamata at my auntie and uncles place. Every day we were at the beach and my Uncle Richie got me surfing on his old Bob Davie lipsticks. My cousin Blake, Richie and I would spend all day in the water surfing, stop at lunch for a pie and ice block then carry on. I still get spoilt rotten every time I visit them, it was the best environment to learn to enjoy surfing. Travel?
Well-travelled, spent a few years working on a superyacht and ended up exploring the Maldives for six months which was pretty surreal! Spent about 3 years all over Europe, Indo/ Ments, Morocco, Hawaii, Mexico. Favourite place to surf?
Has to be the Island, too many good memories surfing with my friends there over the years. Run-ins with container ships, sharks and endless, endless amounts of tubes. Your perfect surf session?
A perfect surf session would be surfing a novelty wave with my best mates. It’s such good feeling scoring a wave that only breaks once or twice a year with just your friends out, especially if its barreling.
Any bain's at your local?
Paddlers when we are stepping, steppers when we are paddling haha Nah no real bains.
Your stance on localism?
I hate niggly localism like snaking, dropping in and bad-tempered kooks, It’s just annoying and it’s not stopping anyone from surfing there. At least when a shotgun is pulled on someone it generally thins a crowd pretty quickly, you may as well do it properly.
Golf, music, building boats, cooking, skating
I’m a boat builder, repairing and refitting boats at the local marina with a group of legends. I love my job!
When I was 17 my mum and her partner took my sisters and I out of school to travel around Italy stuffed in the back of a little Peugeot for six months. We met some amazing people and had some good laughs. I even got to surf a few places there. It fully opened the idea of how fun travelling can be.
To surf perfect waves or to surf each wave perfectly?
Haha my surfing is anything but perfect, so I’d pick surfing perfect waves over surfing perfectly any day.
Shout outs to My family, my best mates Divey, Peaky, Trav and Wada. The Vickers Marine & Marine reflections lads. The local old boys Andy, Rich and Clint for great boards and time on their skis. Oh, and that guy that surfs the Island with a weed whacker attached to his back, his determination to nail the shot is purely inspiring.