Reef Tsutsui at Surfing America Prime, Event No. 5, Feb. 7-8 at Upper Trestles. Photo: Andrea Swayne
Reef Tsutsui at Surfing America Prime, Event No. 5, Feb. 7-8 at Upper Trestles. Photo: Andrea Swayne

By Andrea Swayne

Reef Tsutsui, 13, from Oahu’s North Shore, moved to San Clemente on Jan. 20 with his family of surfers. He is in the eighth grade at Shorecliffs Middle School and his sister attends San Clemente High. He is in the process of trying out for the school surf team and hopes to be competing with them soon in Scholastic Surf Series events. Since his arrival, Reef has competed in two series—a National Scholastic Surfing Association Open event at Salt Creek, and as an alternate at last weekend’s Surfing America Prime at Upper Trestles. He is also planning to begin competing in the Western Surfing Association Championship Tour.

“I am really excited to be here because there are more contests and more consistently good waves,” Reef said.  “And I already had a ton of friends here, from surfing the Surfing America USA Championship and NSSA Nationals last year.”

Reef Tsutsui at Surfing America Prime, Event No. 5, Feb. 7-8 at Upper Trestles. Photo: Andrea Swayne
Reef Tsutsui at Surfing America Prime, Event No. 5, Feb. 7-8 at Upper Trestles. Photo: Andrea Swayne

Reef’s other interests include fishing, and he especially enjoys fly fishing in streams for trout.

In school, he has been getting mostly As and Bs and is determined to continue earning high marks.

“I like the schools better here because they’re more professional and I learn more. Also it’s more fun and the people here are really friendly,” Reef said. “It’s cool that there are a bunch of kids to surf with before school, after school and hopefully as part of the team.”

Reef says he is ready to focus his efforts on achieving his goal of becoming a pro surfer and then follow that up with a second career elsewhere within the surf industry.

“Right now I want to surf as much as I can, dedicate as much time to it as possible so that I can be in the best I can physically be,” he said. “And I will do as many contests as I can, to get more heat time in and be more experienced.”

He also says he feels like San Clemente is a great place to make it happen.

“I really like that the kids here have big goals and are more dedicated and driven to do what they are good at and what they really want to do,” Reef said.  “It helps me to set a higher standard so I can do better. It’s a really good influence.  And the waves have been really good so far too.”

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