Local knowledge helps Māori surfer into next round of National Surfing Champs

By Eru Paranihi

Day two of the National Surfing Championships in Piha and local knowledge of the conditions has proved a deciding factor for young Māori surfer Elliot Paerata-Reid, who won his heat this morning.

Paerata-Reid is one of 32 riders competing in the second round of the Men’s Open division, which is also a lead up for the international campaign starting in late January.

The Ngāti Tūwharetoa descendant was up against a tough pool of surfers but says knowing the conditions gave him the advantage needed to achieve his result. 

“I've surfed Piha exactly like this about 100 million times. I kind of have a gauge on where the waves are going to break and how they're going to break.”

Prior to his final run, Paerata-Reid had produced scores of 7.33 and 7.55. He clinched his heat producing his top score for the day of 8.10, well clear of his second place rival.

Paerata-Reid had plenty of support from whānau, with more still to arrive ahead of the business end of the competition.  Proud parents Melanie and Jemarl were there to witness him taking out his heat.

“He’s pretty committed with his surfing so I just try and support him and just be there for him really- even when he scores the small scores.”

Elliot's 21st birthday this weekend provides another reason for his whānau to attend- and what better present could he receive than a national title

“Probably to have the cup as my drinking glass all night.” says the young surfer.

But the focus now for Paerata-Reid is on continuing his run at the National Surf Championships.