Stab Magazine | What Underground Australian Just Signed With One Of The World's Largest (And Most Unlikely) Footwear Brands?

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What Underground Australian Just Signed With One Of The World’s Largest (And Most Unlikely) Footwear Brands?

Reef Heazlewood slips into something a little more comfortable!

news // Mar 21, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

While the rest of Australia’s competitive fire seemingly ebbs, Reef Heazlewood is an ember begging to be stoked.

First, let’s talk Hawaii season ’18/’19.

While the most memorable moments went to tubes from guys like Mark Healey, Cam Richards and Keito Matsuoka, Reef was perched firmly up top in terms of unforgettable aerial displays.

Three clips hit @stab in the fallout, today they read 114k, 153k, 103k plays. For reference sakes, the Stab Social Media Dept. considers anything north of six digits a show-stopper. Three in a row? Practically unheard of, A-list or otherwise. 

However, to say Australia has a new aerial bun in the oven puts Reef into an undeservingly small box; his latest edit proved he had more to give, charging dangerous tubes and tying up his turns and jumps into neat little bows.

Recently, we snatched Reef from between QS events to test some new release neoprene a few hours south of Sydney. He zipped up, paddled out and got promptly stuck into the two-to-three foot reflective lefts – Reef’s favourite. You’ll see the results soon enough, but we can tell you there were a number of full rotations that had at least three team members squealing from the sand.

HeazlewoodHavaianas Smith180319Smith6969

With one top turn, a footwear supergiant re-enters the surf sphere.

Coupling his impressive third place finish at the Volcom Pipe Pro, his 29th 2018 QS ranking and some of the aforementioned scroll-jamming activities, everything’s coming up sparkles for the Sunshine Coast’s next big thing.

If you’ll forgive the sweeping generalization may we suggest that a surfer’s progression growth begins to taper off at around 26. Considering Reef’s a year shy of 20, he’s got another 7 or so to continue his exponential growth. To many who’ve watched him these last few months, CT qualification, at the very least, is inevitable.

What’s apparent when meeting Reef is his quiet nature. He’s reserved – perhaps shy fits the description better – and comes off a good, honest Christian soul. The next few years of travel, head-swinging edits and competition glory will certainly open him up, however, one does get the impression the humility is deeply woven into his personal tapestry. 

Surprisingly, the Billabong stickers disappeared from his board two months ago. Given his perfromance in just the first quarter of 2019, one could see that as a regrettable decision for the brand, to allow such a hopeful marketing ally to fall to a competitor. But remember the Bong’s current roster, Jack Freestone, Ryan Callinan and Seth Moniz all qualified this year, then there’s Italo…

Either way, on January 1 Reef hit the market and started dialing digits. It just so happened that the Australian team at open-toe megalodon, Havaianas answered first. The pair agreed to sign some paper and Reef slapped a sticker on his board (the beak remains free!).

Havis, as sand-worshipping as they are, haven’t had a surfer on their books since Luke Stedman in the early 2000s. Could Reef be their ticket to getting surfers to swap out their slides, Birkenstocks and Crocs for the original thong/flip-flop/jandal?

We dialed Mr Heazlewood while he studied a heat going down in mediocre Manly conditions at the Vissla Sydney Pro.

Let’s talk about Hawaii. Those airs were wild. You really made a name for yourself.

Yeah! It was pretty awesome. I’ve been going there for a while with Billabong for the Bloodlines series, but now I’m starting to get a bit more comfortable. It was cool to put my mark on it this year and show a bit more about me.

It was a good season and it kept getting better. I went back home then went back over for the Volcom Pipe Pro and it was pretty sick to get that ally oop to air rev and it blew my mind that I made the finals. It was a pretty insane winter for me there. It’ll be hard to beat it!


Just a tease of the moving and shaking Reef was up to on our recent trip down south. Photo: Jackson Jones.

Are you noticing you’re getting a bit more attention now, and more people recognizing you?

Yeah, some people were commenting on the airs and when I got home a few people were frothing on me and stuff [laughs], which is a change. Growing up, I kind of felt like a bit of an underdog a lot of the time, so it was pretty cool to do a bit of busting out onto the scene and get a bit more recognition.

Do you feel like you’ve grown as a person as well as a surfer?

Parting ways with Billabong, I feel like that’s really helped me mature. I’ve been able to step out of my comfort zone a bit.

I’ve learned to knuckle down, work a bit harder at being more forthcoming, being a bit more out-there. Like you said, I’m not the most vibrant person in terms of doing crazy stuff, so yeah, it’s been really good for me. 

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“The QS is just so intense with the level of everyone’s surfing. You’ve got the Brazilians that are just taking it to another level. Then you’ve got people from places you’ve never really heard of and that’s really eye-opening. It’s really cool and it lifts your surfing up as well,” explained Reef. “It shows you that you need to have the brains and the surfing to really make it because nowadays everyone’s got the surfing.” Photo by Jackson Jones.

You let your surfing do the talking!?

Yep [laughs].

So, you’re signing with Havaianas, how did that all come together?

I came into the new year looking for sponsors, trying to find who would really want to support me. Havaianas, they’re a really fun, beachy brand, so I reached out to them.

They haven’t really had too much to do with surfing, even though they’re really based around the beach, so they were really excited to have me connect with the youth market that surf and love the beach.

HeazlewoodHavaianas Smith180319Smith2778

Steering something different for his new fam. (Photo: Ethan Smith)

In terms of a partnership, how does it look?

At the moment I’m going to help them connect with the kids and hopefully inspire a new batch of young surfers, I’m also doing a couple of things at home with the grommets. A surf camp and some stuff with local schools. I know Havi’s do a bunch of work with Ronald McDonald house and Surfing NSW which I want to get involved in. They run some surf schools and have a groms comp too, there is plenty of things both in and out of the water which is cool. They haven’t sponsored a surfer since Luke Steadman, it’s cool to be the first since the great man…

What’ve you got for us this year?

I’ll be focusing on the QS and qualification throughout the year, so I’ll be doing all the major events. I want to focus on improving my surfing, my profile and exposure and stuff. I’m also trying to hunt big barrels and make edits as well. Super excited to get stuck in.


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