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We Rank The 10 Best Surfers In New Zealand Right Now


Elliot Paerata-Reid

We’re not surprised to see Elliot Paerata-Reid, or EPR, as he is often called, sitting inside the top five. He’s been waging battle on the WQS since 2014, had a strong year in 2015, cracking the top 200, and then topped it in 2018 with a 172nd position. That’s still along way to go, but with the QS algorithms the way they are anywhere inside the top 200 is within striking distance.

Elliot Paerata-Reid, one of New Zealand’s finest, preparing his canvas in the carpark at home in Piha. Photo: CPL

“EPR is the undercover brother,” laughs Craig Levers with a shake of his head and sparkle in his eye. “He placed second at the Nationals in 2018 just behind Ric Christie in an awesome paddle battle and wave tussle. Yes, we all know his name, Elliot’s done a pretty good job of getting images in print and on the web – how crazy was that Nias session? What many don’t realise is that the young Piha surfer has been determinedly chipping away at the WQS beast.”

To understand what EPR and all the Kiwi surfers are up against, first you have to understand how the WQS works.

“You can’t earn enough points on the ‘QS to go onto the ‘CT in anything other than 6 Stars,” offers Craig. “Mathematically this is incorrect, but practically it’s all about the 6-Star events. The catch is you need enough points from the 1, 2 and 3-star events to get into the top 200 ranked surfers to be eligible for the 6 Stars, but those 1, 2 and 3’s are small points … a bit like scraping a few cents here and there so eventually you’ve got the dollars to buy into the the big game. It’s brutal.”

Elliot played to his strengths to get there. He’s been an Indo regular for the past 10 years, it’s almost his second home.

“EPR’s 2018 quest was to get the points/ranking to qualify for the 6 Stars and he did it quite strategically by identifying the events that suited him, such as Indo, and were inexpensive to get to (ie not Europe). EPR is now at the highest ranking he’s ever been. So goal achieved. This means he’s poised for the 6 star events in 2019. Shrewdly played EPR.”

Elliot Paerata-Reid is one of the great rising stars of New Zealand surfers. Explosive, ballsy and one of the most fun surfers to watch. Photo: CPL

Outside of the competition arena Elliot starred in the Mega Swell that rolled into Indonesia in late July 2018. He arrived just as Nias was transformed from a playground into something on the brink of madness. While others were questioning if it was even possible to paddle in, Elliot stroked into an incredible wave. He didn’t stick the drop, got the hiding of his life and went viral. That moment elevated him and put New Zealand surfing a notch or two higher on the performance spectrum.

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