For any young kiwi surfer with aspirations of being the best they can be, the ultimate goal is the World Tour which our very own Maz Quinn and Ricardo Christie have tasted. From early beginnings, as a fledgling grom, the first steps beyond riding the whitewater in a career are the varied grom comps held all round NZ, from there any grom with standout ability may take on the Australian grom comps which lead into the Pro-Junior Series, the most intense junior competition in the world and a stepping stone to the big show. Once 18 if a surfer is serious about a competition career the only way onto the illustrious World Tour are through the gates of the World Qualifying series. A series of multi rated events that has been described by those who choose to partake as “The Grind”. Which is the perfect superlative to describe a year long tour, which can grind you down, spit you out and at times feel like you’re grinding away continuously for little reward. There is much to learn about yourself, your temperament, your ability both physical and mentally should you choose to take on the grind! Elliot Paerata-Reid is one such kiwi surfer who has achieved at the highest level across his junior career and one who is now out there grinding away. Elliot gives us a bit of insight into his first couple of years on tour!
"Sometimes I look down at my wide smell y Maori feet and think wow you two have taken me around the world! At the age of 18 I spent my first year on theWQS.Iw as traveling with my mates to Bali, Europe e tc… Id on' tknowi fit was the new places, travelling with my friends at a young age, or the European girl sing-strings hanging around the comps asking if we knew Julian, but some of the stuff that went on probably wouldn' t be allowed to be published in th ism ag ha ha. I had a whole lot of fun and don' t regret a thing, but I got to 19 and realised I hadn' t qualified yet and never seemed to see S later par tying and that' s when it hit me! Why wasn' t I seeing any of the top guys in the club? It was because the music was alwayss#*t! So that' s when I became a DJ!
A year later I realised it was actually because they were in the gym or doing yoga. There were a few exceptions where some of the boys would party and pretty much do whatever they wanted and would still be getting really good results. I think that' swhatf #*$ ed with my head a little bit. All this time I had been told to be a pro surfer you had to train, train, train, surf, surf, surf and that was it! Yet I found myself standing at 3 am deep inside some underground club with the winner of one of the events, and thinking this guy hasn' t slept for like three days. Has my life been a lie? Is the winning formula really alcohol and house music and not sit ups and spinach? There' s a lot of different characters doing the circuit and they all have their own methods and routines which works for them and as much as I wish mine was rip ping into every new town with the boys it' s not. What I' m saying is the Q Stakes a few years to figure out.
Ihavebeenin Australia for a couple years now, training and surfing with the best. I think to qualify is 25% skill 25% the work you put in behind the scenes, and 50% mental strength. To stay mentally positive when you travel for two days, spend all this money and get to the beach and it' s 1 ft and cross shore is actually a lot harder than one may think. Surfing is a lifestyle, a hobby and basically just the bomb, but on the Q Si t's a full time job. I often go home and Is wear people just think I travel around getting barrel led all year but that' s so far from the truth. Don' t get me wrong I realise how fortunate I am to be living this lifestyle but I have spent months without surfing waves over 2 ft.
In saying that the Q Shasta ken me to some amazing places that I never thought I would go! One of those places is the Phillip in es. If you have turned the news on recently you probably think the Phillip in es is super sketch y and unsafe. But Si argaoIsland,w here the contest is held truly is paradise! White sand beaches under palm trees with baby blue water and some of the best waves I' ve surfed. The people are also super friendly and the locals rip! After the contest the government holds a big festival party. It’ s pretty much the Coach ella of the island. So obviously we all went to have a look one night. We pulled up to this big indoor stadium and to our surprise the place was fully pop ping off. Everyone got super excited and ended up smashed on the jungle juice and extra joss. There were a lot of girls there all frothing on the surf er boys. And so, boys being boys they took advantage of the local groupies. I was with my girlfriend at the time and we were looking around at the boys all hooking into these local chicks and my girlfriend said ," she' s got bigger hands than you Elliot ha ha ". We both laughed and brushed it off. After awhile I started noticing these girls had quite defined jaw lines. And was that an Adam' s apple I just saw? I thought I must of just had a few to many jungle juices but then the lights all turned on. These chicks had more facial stubble than me! These chicks weren' t even chicks. These chicks were probably packing more heat down stairs than me! That’ s when I did a terrible thing. I kept my mouth shut. I saw the local groupie guy/ girl shopping on the back of some of the boys motorbikes and I just let them have it. Let' s just say I didn' t see a few of the boys for there st of the trip. There' s a lot of high sand a lot of low sin surfing. I guess that was a low for some of the boys, but who knows it could have been a high.
The Q Sis a love hate relationship but I will continue on this path. I have my own goals and through my experience I now know what it takes to accomplish them ."
"All this time I had been told to bea pro surf er you had to train, train, train, surf, surf, surf and that was it! Yet I found myself standing at 3 am deep inside some underground club with the winner of one of the events, and thinking this guy hasn' t slept for like three days ."