New Zealand Surfing - - Between Sets -

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 ."

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