11 Famous New Zealand Surfers: The Best!

It’s always up for debate, "who are the most famous New Zealand surfers"?

We list the current most famous New Zealand surfers, going into detail of their impact on New Zealand's surf culture and surfing as a whole.

The list of famous New Zealand surfers is forever growing so here is our 11 best!

Most Famous New Zealand Surfers

Famous New Zealand surfers include Sarah Mason, Maz Quinn, Billy Stairmand, Luke Cederman and Ella Williams.

This list of the most famous New Zealand surfers is forever growing! Let's get into each famous New Zealand surfers story below in detail.

Want to find more surfers? View our list of the most famous surfers ever!

Billy Stairmand

Born: October 21, 1989

Origin: Raglan, New Zealand

Style: Billy Stairmand is known for his dynamic and competitive shortboard style.

Famous New Zealand Surfers

About: Billy Stairmand discovered his passion for surfing under the guidance of his father at the age of 10. His competitive journey began at 13, and he quickly made a mark by winning his first national title in 2010. Stairmand gained international recognition in 2011 by defeating the legendary Kelly Slater at the Telstra Drug Aware Pro in Australia. His achievements include breaking a 30-year record at the national championships in 2017 and collecting victories at prestigious events like the Rip Curl Raglan Pro and the Gold Coast Open in 2019.

Achievements: Stairmand's notable achievements include winning his first national title, securing an ASP World Tour victory, and consistently performing at a high level in various competitions. He represented New Zealand at the inaugural Olympic surfing competition in Tokyo in 2021. Listen to Billy on a podcast!

Instagram: @billystairmand

Famous New Zealand Surfers - Billy Stairmand

Ella Williams

Born: January 13, 1995

Origin: Whangamatā, New Zealand

Style: Ella is a versatile surfer known for her competitive prowess and determination.

Famous New Zealand Surfers

About: Ella Williams grew up in a family deeply rooted in surfing, with her parents owning a surf shop. Her journey into surfing began at the age of four in Raglan, and by six, she was already participating in under-12 category competitions. Moving to Whangamatā at the age of seven, where her family took over a local surf shop, Ella embraced the exceptional surfing conditions of the area. Despite admitting she wasn't keen on school, her dedication to surfing and her childhood ambition to become world champion fueled her success. Ella's competitive spirit became evident when she started winning competitions at the age of 14.

Achievements: Ella Williams achieved global recognition when, at the age of 18, she became the junior world champion in Florianópolis, Brazil. Her journey continued as she turned professional in the following year. In 2019, she gained provisional qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the ISA World Surfing Games giving her status as one the most famous New Zealand surfers.

Instagram: @ellaoliviawilliams

Famous New Zealand Surfers - Ella Williams

Elliot Paerata-Reid

Born: 1996

Origin: New Zealand

Style: Elliot Paerata-Reid is renowned for his exceptional surfing abilities and distinctive style on the shortboard.

Famous New Zealand Surfers

About: Despite missing the recent National Surf Championship in Gisborne, Elliot is recognized as one of New Zealand's premier surfers. His notable skills have brought him into contention with esteemed surfers like Ricardo Christie. At just twenty years old, Paerata-Reid has already showcased his competitive edge by participating in the World Surf League's Qualifying Series, marking the beginning of what promises to be a remarkable surfing career. He became famous from a young age when he faced a shark attack, demonstrating remarkable courage by kicking the shark, getting stitches, and swiftly returning to the waves.

Achievements: Elliot Paerata-Reid's presence in competitive circuits, including the World Surf League's Qualifying Series, suggests a promising trajectory.

Instagram: @elliotpaeratareid

Famous New Zealand Surfers - Elliot Paerata-Reid

Luke Cederman

Born: 1980s

Origin: Raglan, New Zealand

Style: Luke embodies the surfing dream, making annual trips to Bali to indulge in the simple pleasures of eating, sleeping, and surfing.

Famous New Zealand Surfers

About: Known for his charismatic personality, Luke Cederman has made a mark beyond the waves. Despite being a pro surfer, his fame extends to his off-water antics, including sarcastic applications for The Bachelor NZ, a KickStarter campaign to enter the World Tour, and a humorous video mocking Kelly Slater's controversial shark-culling suggestion in Australia. Often referred to as "The Guy From The Raglan Surf Report," Cederman adds a unique flair to the New Zealand surfing scene.

Achievements: While specific professional achievements are not detailed, Luke Cederman's influence in the New Zealand surfing community and his entertaining off-water endeavours contribute to his recognition as a notable figure in the sport.

Instagram: @luke_cederman

Luke Cederman Funny Surf Video

Maz Quinn

Born: August 7, 1976

Origin: Hamilton, New Zealand

Style: Regular

Famous New Zealand Surfers

About: Maz Quinn, a distinguished New Zealand surfer born in Hamilton, discovered his passion for the sport during his teenage years in the small community of Wainui Beach. Coming from a family deeply involved in surfing, Quinn's journey in the sport has been marked by significant achievements and contributions.

Achievements: A four-time winner of New Zealand's national surfing championships and the victor of the 1996 Billabong Pro-Junior Series Maz Quinn is recognised as one of the most famous New Zealand surfers. In the 1990s, he made history by becoming the first New Zealander to win a World Qualifying Series (WQS) event, and in 2001, he achieved the distinction of being the first New Zealander to qualify for the elite World Championship Tour, ranking among the world's top 44 male surfers.

Instagram: @maz_quinn

Famous New Zealand Surfers - Maz Quinn Surfing

Matt Hewitt

Born: July 7, 1991

Origin: Durban, South Africa

Style: Matt is known for his achievements and contributions to the New Zealand surfing scene.

Famous New Zealand Surfers

About: Matt Hewitt, educated at Tauranga Boys' College, emerged as a prominent figure in the surfing community. Winning the New Zealand National Surfing Championships in 2009 marked a significant milestone in his career. With a strong presence on the New Zealand surfing team for the last four years, Hewitt continues to showcase his skills and dedication to the sport.

Achievements: Matt Hewitt has demonstrated his prowess in the surfing world with notable achievements, including securing 3rd place at the ISA World Surfing Games. Additionally, he claimed 1st place victories at both the Bells Beach Australian Pro Junior and the Chill Australian Pro Junior competitions, showcasing his talent and competitive spirit on the international stage.

Instagram: @matt_hewitt

Famous New Zealand Surfers - Matt Hewitt Surfing

Paige Hareb

Born: June 6, 1990

Origin: Ōakura Beach, New Zealand

Style: Goofy stance

Famous New Zealand Surfers

About: Paige Frances Hareb, born on June 6, 1990, at New Plymouth Base Hospital, New Zealand, emerged as a trailblazer in New Zealand surfing. In December 2008, she achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first New Zealand woman to qualify for the ASP Women's World Tour. Currently residing in Ōakura, New Zealand, Hareb has consistently demonstrated her skill and determination in the world of professional surfing.

Achievements: In her rookie year on the 2009 World Tour, Hareb reached the semi-finals of the Roxy Pro in Coolangatta, Australia. She has consistently ranked among the top surfers on the ASP World Tour, achieving notable placements and earning recognition in various competitions.

Instagram: @paigehareb

Famous New Zealand Surfers - Paige Hareb Surfing

Raiha Ensor

Origin: Mount Maunganui, New Zealand

Style: Rising Talent

Famous New Zealand Surfers

About: Raiha Ensor, a 16-year-old student at Mount Maunganui College, is setting her sights on the 2020 Olympic Games, eagerly awaiting the International Olympic Committee's decision on surfing's inclusion. Raiha's rapid progress among the top Kiwi surfers is evident as she gears up for major events, including the ISA World Surfing Games in Costa Rica and the World Junior Championships in the Azores Islands, Portugal.

Achievements: Raiha's selection as the youngest member of the New Zealand women's team for the ISA World Surfing Games is a highlight in her surfing career. Standout performances at the Rip Curl Raglan Pro and the Rip Curl GromSearch International final in Hawaii solidified her place in the team, with a second-place finish at Manu Bay and an impressive third place in Hawaii.

Instagram: @raihaensor

Russell Winter

Born: October 13, 1988

Origin: Otepoti, New Zealand

Style: Regular

Famous New Zealand Surfers

About: Ricardo Christie, born in Otepoti, New Zealand, on October 13, 1988, is a professional surfer with a dynamic and competitive style. Currently residing in Mahia, New Zealand, Christie began his surfing journey in the World Qualifying Series in 2009 at the age of 20.

Achievements: His ascent to the elite World Championship Tour came in 2015, marking a significant milestone in his career.

Instagram: @ricardochristie

Famous New Zealand Surfers - Ricardo Christie Surfing

Sarah Mason

Born: April 11, 1995

Origin: Gisborne, New Zealand

Style: Goofy

Famous New Zealand Surfers

About: Sarah Mason, born on April 11, 1995, in Gisborne, New Zealand, is a talented surfer currently residing in Australia. Notably, on her 15th birthday in 2010, Mason achieved a significant milestone by winning the New Zealand Women's Open surfing title held off New Plymouth. She secured a wildcard entry to New Plymouth's ASP world championship Dream Tour event and made waves by defeating world champion Stephanie Gilmore to reach the quarter-finals. Mason further advanced to the semi-finals, where she faced Carissa Moore.

Achievements: In 2010, Sarah Mason secured the prestigious New Zealand Women's Open surfing title, showcasing her exceptional skills and competitive prowess in the sport. Additionally, she claimed victory in the Australasian girls' pro junior under-21 category, further solidifying her standing as a talented and accomplished surfer.

Taylor Hutchison

Born: April 11, 1997

Origin: Raglan

Style: Natural

Famous New Zealand Surfers

About: Taylor Hutchison, also known as Ramzi, was born and raised in Raglan, New Zealand, renowned for its exceptional surf breaks. With a surfing journey that began around the age of 10, Hutchison has developed a powerful backhand and earned a place in the New Zealand Surf Team. He secured a significant career highlight by winning the 2021 Rip Curl Pro Raglan. As the Surf Hardware and Wetsuit buyer for Backdoor Surf, Hutchison balances his passion for surfing with a keen interest in 4-wheel driving.

Achievements: He achieved success in the Premier Under 20s Boys Division at the Backdoor GromBash in April 2017, showcasing his exceptional skills in the surfing competition. He is recognised as a valuable member of the New Zealand Surf Team, contributing to the country's representation on the international surfing stage. One of the pinnacle moments in his career includes winning the 2021 Rip Curl Pro Raglan, marking a significant highlight and adding to his list of accomplishments in the world of professional surfing.

New Zealand’s Connection With Surfing

New Zealand has a strong connection to surfing, with both the north and south hosting various world famous surf breaks. 

The country's surfing culture is deeply rooted, seeing New Zealand produce many talented surfers, contributing to the global surfing community.

The rugged and picturesque coastlines of New Zealand make it a unique and sought-after destination for surfers from around the world.

Surfing Culture in New Zealand

Surfing culture in New Zealand is vibrant and integral to the coastal lifestyle, with a strong community of surfers embracing the sport. The country's diverse and scenic coastlines offer a range of surf breaks, attracting both locals and international surf enthusiasts. 

New Zealand's surfing culture is characterised by a laid-back atmosphere, a passion for the ocean, and a sense of camaraderie among surfers.

Famous New Zealand Surf Spots

  • Raglan
  • Piha
  • Whangamata
  • Mount Maunganui
  • Gisborne
  • Sumner, Christchurch
  • Shipwreck Bay, Ahipara
  • Stent Road, Taranaki
  • Lyall Bay, Wellington
  • Makorori Point, Gisborne

Summing It Up: What To Do Now

Now you have a vast list of the most famous New Zealand surfers, be sure to check out famous surfers from countries around the world such as Australia and Hawaii!

If your interested in learning more about surfing discover our many guides that will inform you on your surfing journey. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook & Instagram to stay informed on our amazing surf shots and stories shared from surf creators around the world!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is New Zealand known for surfing?

Yes, New Zealand is known for its surfing culture, and it has several popular surf spots along its coasts.

Who is the most famous girl surfer?

Determining the "most famous" is subjective, but notable female surfers include Stephanie Gilmore, Carissa Moore, and Bethany Hamilton.

Who is the king of surfing?

The title "king of surfing" is subjective, but Kelly Slater is often referred to as one of the greatest surfers in history.

Who is the female surfer in New Zealand?

One prominent female surfer in New Zealand is Paige Hareb.

Who is the best male surfer of all time?

Determining the "best" is subjective, but surfers like Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, and Tom Curren are often considered among the greatest male surfers of all time.

What is the most famous place for surfing?

One of the most famous places for surfing is Pipeline, located on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

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