Clint Reid is a 2 time New Zealand Surfing team representative and big wave charger, Who spends most of his time hunting down big
wave slabs round New Zealand.
When Clint’s not surfing he’s fishing, diving, free diving, spearing or watching the WSL at home with his boy Kai.
When did you start surfing?
Not exactly sure; I was pretty young though. My old boy surfed and we spent most of our holidays, weekends and after school as kids at Omanu Beach. Although I clearly remember the first time I trimmed along a wave at about 8 on the old mans 7.2 Bob Davie single fin at Waihi Beach at our family friends bach .It was like one foot but I was hooting!
What were some of your surfing accomplishments when you were younger?
Yeah, I was pretty competitive as a junior surfer and was doing a lot of comps. Won a lot of school and regional comps and did really well in the Christian surfers comps in the early to mid nineties. Also won the juniors at Maori Nat’s. Best results were probably 4th in U/16 at national scholastics and 3rd in U18 the following year so I got to represent New Zealand in Bali twice.
So you were competitive in your younger day. What made you give up the competitive dream?
I couldn’t really pin point one thing; there were a number of contributing factors. Back then there was bugger all money in surfing in New Zealand (still isn’t) and my parents were pushing more towards education as in their words there was no future in surfing. So I went and completed a Diploma in Marine Studies which was a labour intensive course and left little time for comps. After the course I went commercial fishing for the old man to pay off my student loan and the fishing season clashed with the NZ comp circuit. I was still doing some comps at this stage but had become a bit disheartened with the whole comp scene and the way it was run and judged and the fact that the waves were nearly always average or below average for comps.
Back then, for example, making the NZ Scholastic surf team for the first time and having the coach and manager on benders in Bali, always burning the midnight oil. And all the empty bottles of Jack on the balcony in the morning; such an unprofessional approach to the World Titles. By contrast, the Aussie team had Rabbit as their manager and Rob Bain as coach and two weeks of Intensive heat training on Kuta Beach pre comp. Kinda really brought it home to a young fella how far behind we were. Back then the judging system was all screwed up as well; progressive surfing, power surfing and tube riding weren’t scored but 10 half turns to the beach were! I saw so many guys get ripped off in shitty waves .I didn’t want to ruin my stoke by doing comp surfing so that’s what I did; just started to surf for the pure love and stoke of it!
What inspired you to start riding bigger waves?
I was always pumped on surfing bigger waves when I was younger and was lucky to have a dad who was a fisherman and taught me how to read weather maps and know when spots would be on. We didn’t have Internet forecasting back then. I guess from there it was a progression as big wave surfing progressed and PWC came into the game. A friend of mine in Indo had a ski and a spot that produced 10 to 20 ft. waves and I was lucky enough to enjoy towing into some solid ones in Indo. This kinda lead into doing it here at home. Sanga and myself hit a spot here about 5 or 6 years ago and I was hooked. The next time he went out there was no room on the ski and I missed out, so, determined not to let that happen again, I saved hard, bought a ski with all the gear and boom and I’ve never looked back. Really lucky to have great crews who are all pumped on it and help and look out for each other as well as having NZ’s best surf photographer documenting it all and being a safety spotter. It’s a learning game and I think we are all still learning. Big wave surfing is a challenge but I believe everyone should push themselves a bit in life otherwise how do we know what we are capable of…
What do you do for a job and how do you get the time to surf?
Funnily enough I’m still fishing; it’s in the blood I think. I’m a third generation fisherman and I love the ocean and am lucky enough to have it as my office. I get the time to surf as we don’t work in really bad weather and swell so it kinda complements surfing. You don’t get every swell but manage a lot of them and I drive a lot on days off to chase waves. I’ve got a really good boss who lets me take time off to chase those big days with the ski. Being a surfer himself and man of the ocean he appreciates how rare big clean days are!
What’s the biggest wave you have ever surfed?
It’s really hard to call a size. I guess somewhere around 15 to 20ft so not massive but some of the waves are really intense like 12 to 15ft but thick and heavy and out in the middle of the ocean.
Have you had any moments where you have thought you might actually die?
Hahaha .Na mate, try not to think like that. Had a couple of hectic moments like getting one on the head and going, ‘ oh god here we go’ but na not that “I’m gonna die sensation.” Know when I’ve found my limit and call it a day.
Have you got any aspirations or goals in your big wave surfing?
As I said earlier we have a really good bunch of guys and I think just quietly we are all kinda pushing each other out there. Everyone wants that big one on the day but yeah personally my goals and aspirations are to just enjoy it and charge as hard as my abilities will let me. Oh and get a 20ft plus wave and get kegged off my nut on it. There are a couple of waves I want to surf as well which, with a bit of luck, will happen in the next couple of years.
Big wave surfer Kirk Passmore recently passed away paddle surfing big waves. What equipment do you use to help keep you safe in the water and is there something you think that can be done further to keep big wave surfers safer?
Safety always comes first and if you are gonna get into big wave stuff there’s no cutting corners with equipment. Most of the waves are out in the open ocean and the days you are out there no coastguard boat is going to come to your rescue, as most can’t get out .So you have to hope for the best but plan for the worst cause if shit hits the fan out there you’re on your own. You need a PFD (personal flotation device) or two PFDs so you know you will always pop up, conscious or unconscious. Then it’s gear like waterproof mobile phones and VHF handhelds, flares (both rocket and smoke), spare towline in case you break down. A big knife in case of ropes or Cray pots in the intakes. and a personal locator beacon. The other thing is Choc (Cory Scott) who shoots probably 90% of the sessions from his ski. So it’s like having a safety spotter there, seeing every wave and what goes down. There is always room for improvement in safety for big wave surfers. Look at Dorian’s V1 suits. Amazing. My friend Coxy is working on some awesome stuff. Will fill ya in when it’s ready.