Oh to be a youngster in Tahiti!
Above: That water! Hiro in a crystal-clear grinder near his home. Photo: Chris Allen
It’s Youth time again – where we profile one of the four young cats who made it into the latest print issue’s Youth section, due to their skill and all-round photogenic-ness. Read our previous profile on Nathan “The Spruce Moose” Spruce from Bateman’s Bay, New South Wales here. Nathan followed in the footsteps of some high-profile Youth alumnni, including George Humphreys, Jordan Putland and Tanner McDaniel before him. This week it’s Tahitian Hiro Bernede’s, 16, turn – a lucky young so-and-so from Punaauia. With issue #198 just around the corner, which four groms will be immortalised in print this time around?
RT: How long have you been surfing mate?
HB: I’ve been surfing for about four years now and I love to do big airs or get big barrels. I started bodyboarding because I love to be in the water, watching the waves break on the reef… the main waves that I surf are Taapuna and Sapinus.
It must be amazing having such world-class waves near you! How long does it take to get to Sapinus?
It takes about 10 minutes to walk to Sapinus. I surf this wave all the time. As soon as I finish school I go and surf with my friend Manea, who’s also my cameraman. It’s my favourite wave because you can do it all – big airs and big, nice barrels.
It must have been intimidating though – learning to surf at such heavy reefs?
I do get a little bit scared when I take off on some big waves, but I like it – the adrenaline and other sensations. The biggest waves I’ve surfed were around four metres when there has been some big swell.
What a hiro. Photo: Manoarii Bernede
What about influences – there is such a big crop of ripping Tahitian riders nowadays such as Tahurai Henry and David Tuarau – who are your main influences?
I know those guys but I’m not always with them. My inspiration is Jono Bruce because he rides really pure.
So, you’re 16 – that’d make you still in school, right? What are your plans for the future, Hiro?
Yes, I’m 16 years old and I’m in high school. I want to become a customs officer when I’m older. Right now I’m just surfing for fun, but one day I want to become sponsored and maybe become professional.
Thanks a lot Hiro, you’re a bloody legend.
You’re welcome, mate. It was a pleasure to answer some of your questions.