Free surfer Reef McIntosh makes his living at Pipeline. When Pipe is firing, Reef is on it, along with an elite fraternity of “Pipe Specialists” who — after years of paying their dues and showing respect for what is arguably the most revered wave on the planet—have earned their place in the hallowed line-up.
Asked about his most memorable moments from this past season on the North Shore, McIntosh recalled, “yeah, January and February were a lot better than December. We had solid back-to-back-to-back late season swells. It was insane.”
Since Pipe typically puts on its best show from November through February, we wanted to quiz Reef on what he does during all that down time.
How does your routine change once the North Shore shuts down for the season?
Reef: When the Quiksilver house closes up in March, I usually go back to Kauai for a week or two. Then…you know…I’ll go to Tavarua on Jeff Booth’s trip in April. That’s usually a really good trip. Since I was a kid, I remember seeing all these great shots of Jeff surfing epic Cloudbreak. Unfortunately, this year it absolutely sucked, and I didn’t surf once. But I brought my dad over for his 60th birthday and I had my girlfriend with me, so I really didn’t care so much. I just like being there.
What other water activities do you get into when you’re not surfing?
If I’m not surfing, I’m pretty much surfing the couch, or I’m on the phone. Everybody thinks I have a manager or an agent, just seeing what I’ve done. But I don’t, so I spend a lot of time setting things up with sponsors, magazines and photographers.
How do you do to stay fit during the offseason?
I go to the gym with my girlfriend, and I try to stretch a lot to stay loose.
What spots do you surf in the islands in the spring and summer?
I’m not in Hawaii much during summer. I’m pretty much based in California; It’s easier to jump around; there’s more flights to Fiji, West Oz, Mexico or wherever the swell is.
Have you had any good photo trips recently?
I went to Tahiti and got a shot that’s pretty dope. I went to Puerto with Russo and got some pretty good stuff. If I go on a trip, and get at get at least one really good A+ photo, I feel like I did my job.
How long have you been riding Steve Boysen Surboards?
Two years now full time.
What are you riding when the waves aren’t macking?
In Hawaii I’ll ride my normal 6-4 round tails and rounded pins. In California, I’ll play around and ride some of Steve’s different boards…like little 6-2 diamond tails and swallow tails.
Are you and Steve going to do any fine-tuning to your Pipe boards for this coming winter?
Umm, no…not really. Steve’s a bad-ass shaper. So I’ll just give him the dimensions, tell him I want glass-ons, maybe tell him to pull in the tail…and he does the rest.
How long does it take to get back into the rhythm of winter on the North Shore?
It’s pretty much second nature, but at Pipeline it takes a couple of good swells.
What are your goals for this coming winter?
Just to stay focused on Pipeline and to keep turning heads. Keep it exciting. I want to be the guy out there who makes people say “who the f –k was that on that wave.
For updates on Reef and the rest of the SB Surfboards team, or to scope out the full range of progressive shapes by Steve Boysen, drop in at SBSurfboards.com.