After battling through the World Qualifying Series (WQS) for four long years, Huntington Beach’s Tim Reyes has made it to the big leagues–the World Championship Series (WCT). Although it’s still unofficial, Tim has accrued enough points to put him into the same events as World Champ Andy Irons, Kelly Slater, and Joel Parkinson, among others. For Reyes, 22, it’s a dream come true. And for proud California surf fans, it gives us another representative from our state to pull for. We had a quick conversation with Tim before he split to Hawai’i for the last two remaining ‘QS events-Sunset and Haleiwa.
TransWorld Surf: I hope we can say this without causing some catastrophic jinx, but congratulations!
Tim Reyes: Thanks.
Backing up a bit, I remember watching you take down some big names this summer during the U.S. Open, that was really cool to see a hometown kid do so well.
Yeah, that was cool-I had a really good board at the time. After I made my first heat, I got to surf against Andy, and everybody was telling me “You’ll do good, you live here! Everyone expected me to do good ’cause it ‘s my home break. It seemed like a lot of luck was coming my way-waves were just coming right to me. I was just stoked to make the semis and surf with Andy.
Did that give you a big confidence boost?
Yeah, definitely. I started really slow at the beginning of the year and to do well there was huge, it pushed me pretty far up on the ratings. Mentally, I was super psyched.
What is the math exactly on you making the ‘CT?
Well, to qualify you need 8,100 points and right now I have around 8,600 points. People are saying to me “You got it! But I can’t believe them.
Who are the people saying that?
Guys on the ‘CT, like Pat O’Connell, Taylor Knox, and a couple Australian guys, are like, “You got it for sure! But I’m like “Dude, I don’t know. I don’t want to freak out about it. There’re two more events left and I gotta go surf good over there (Hawai’i)
Sunset seems like a pretty tough place to surf a contest.
Yeah, you could either have the heat of your life or a total shocker and break three surfboards in one heat (laughs).
That’s kind of a trip that to qualify for the ‘CT you have to surf these average beachbreaks around the world, and then when you do qualify, you’re thrown into the best waves in the world. Keith Malloy compares it to qualifying for the A.T.P. by playing ping-pong.
Yeah it’s crazy. It’s definitely a hard thing to do, going from surfing just O.K. waves to the best venues ever. Sometimes the best guys aren’t going to make it because the waves are so shitty. I had to learn how to surf bad waves, and now I’m wondering if I can surf good waves (laughs)!
Where are some places you’re looking forward to competing?
Snapper Rocks. It’s such a nice wave, I can’t wait to get there and get some barrels.
Here’s a theoretical situation: You’ve got the first heat of the day at Teahupo’o and it’s twelve feet. How do you feel?
Awesome. I’ve always been into big waves and riding for O’Neill, you’ve got guys like Tamayo Perry and Geralch towing into huge waves and surfing big Teahupo’o, pushing you. I’ve always wanted to surf big waves and now I have to (laughs)! I’m psyched for that.
Was there a parade on Main Street when you got home from Brazil and had most likely qualified?
No, I actually haven’t really even surfed Huntington since I’ve been home. I’ve just been taking it easy, but it looks like O’Neill wants to throw a little party after Hawai’i.
Tim, we wish you all the best. Good luck.
Alright, thanks a lot.