We are extremely excited to announce the Caylin de Reuck has joined the Heli Athlete team as our resident surfing expert! We sat down with Caylin to get the full story of how surfing has taken her all over the world, from her native Cape Town to the famous Indonesian breaks of the Mentawais.
First off, where are you from, what do you do, and how did you get into surfing?
I grew up in a small coastal town on the West Coast of South Africa near Cape Town. Which meant we frequented the beach everyday after school and on the weekends. I started out as a kid flopping around in shore breaks on a bodyboard and must’ve fallen in love with the ocean then because the next thing I knew I was pleading my parents for a surfboard. I started out on borrowed boards and was hooked, completely addicted to the fun that my friends and I were having. It was beautiful. The sun, the scent of fresh wax, excitement in the salty air, the hot tar road leading us toward the beach, the laughs. Naturally, I signed up to associations and began my teenage years surfing competitively on a national level. Mavericks Big Wave Champion and now Motivational Speaker Chris Bertish became my mentor, sponsored me with O’Neill product and took me on my first International surf trip alongside other O’Neill team riders to Madagascar for a photo editorial in South Africa’s exclusive surfing magazine ‘Zig Zag Magazine’.
Throughout this time my love for the sport and surf travel grew. Placing 2nd in the South African Championships was to be my highest accolade, and the progression from competitive surfing turned towards surfing and traveling for the love of it. Surfing has lead me to travel the world, visiting destinations I could only dream of, and today I continue to let the love of surfing lead my life personally and career wise. I now live with my boyfriend on a remote island in the Mentawais – a surfing Mecca – assisting in the operations and management of Kingfisher Mentawais Surf Resort.
What is your life story as seen through waves and water (skip all that boring stuff that doesn’t involve playing in the ocean!).
My love for the ocean has lead me all around the world, working abroad, meeting like-minded people and doing it all while having fun! For the pure love of surfing I’ve travelled to the likes of Portugal, Madagascar, Panama, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Mozambique and so on.
In addition, the ocean has also inspired me to learn to sail. I began sailing in South Africa, positioning myself onboard as a competent crew member. The thrill of sailing then lead me to live and work in the Caribbean for around 3 years. Visiting countless islands in the West Indies and also making my way by yacht from Florida through the Gulf of Mexico, stopping in Honduras along the way and eventually arriving in Panama upon which I crossed the legendary Panama Canal and further on towards the San Blas Islands.
Throughout this time I found my way into the Super Yacht industry, taking up managerial positions working directly for owners and captains alike of magnificent Super Yachts. Managing their charter business, crew and itineraries. Working mostly remotely all the while searching for surf. I have always made an effort to either be in the water or on top of it, diving incredible reefs or sailing crystal clear waters. My interest in kiteboarding and fishing had also began to pique.
Work then took me to the Mediterranean Sea, once again drawn to base myself on an island, this time on popular holiday destination Mallorca situated next to the island of Ibiza. Here I continued to travel via yacht for the love of exploration and fortunately also for work, visiting the likes of Monaco, Montenegro, Malta and so forth.
How does your surf/ kite calendar usually unfold?
I make my way to the Mentawais in February each year to prep Kingfisher Resort for the start of the Indonesian swell season. We officially open the Resort at the end of February. Early season is my favorite time of the year for its light winds, pumping surf, idyllic blue skies and gorgeous sunsets.
Mid season is go time, bringing heavy surf and stronger winds. We usually start chasing some semi-secret slabs in the region. Swells generally begin to taper off around September and October. If I’m lucky enough to get some time away from the Resort, I’ll chase a swell somewhere in Indonesia for the sake of exploration.
Come November, I’m already checking the wind forecast for Cape Town. Arriving in South Africa at the start of season is great fun as friends from around the world start filtering in for a few months of strong south easterlies with the excitement building for Red Bull King of the Air.
Your home base is at Kingfisher Mentawais and Cape Town. What does a typical day ‘in the office’ look like for you?
Waking up to one of the most consistent left-hander in the region, I always check the surf first. After coffee and analyzing the conditions, I prep and coordinate for the mornings activities, be it surfing, fishing, spearfishing, SUPing or foil boarding. Once the Resort guests are happily on their way, I’m quick to head out for either a surf or spearfish myself. Thereafter straight into emails and phone calls until the conditions change and we make a call for the first few hours of activities. I structure my day around the weather conditions and the Resort guests wants and needs, always aiming to ensure guests are having the time of their lives!
When I’m in Cape Town, it’s all kiteboarding, structuring my day around the wind!
Tell us about the most epic surf day of your life.
I live in the Mentawais, every day is epic!
I’ll tell you about one of the most epic days this year, when the swell and wind forecast started shaping up to present a possibly perfect day at a world class break called Lances Right. The idea of scoring this wave at its best was looming. It sent jitters down all of our spines. Excitement around the Resort was beginning to build.
The day arrived, myself and the guests woke up and had an early breakfast. There was a certain nervous tension in the air, all the elements were expected to align. Everyone seemed to have a very calm demeanor, but the excitement within was wild.
After breakfast we began to pack, we opted for step ups over shortboards. The ice box was packed and we were off on a quick 10 minute speedboat ride. As we rounded the corner and approached the wave from the back, we watched how perfectly the wind rolled off the back of the wave. Next we approached the channel and without a moments hesitation, boards were being waxed, nervous laughter erupted and screams of delight ensued.
It was as we expected, not a drop of water out of place, absolute perfection exploding onto the reef. It was flawless. The day was filled with crazy standup barrels, insane wipeouts and everybody was charging.
There are few things in the world that beat the feeling of getting that perfect barrel, and nothing quite like siting on the shoulder of another perfect wave, hooting your mates and guests into the barrel of their life at their dream wave. Spirits skyrocketed, and the laughing smiles and good vibes continued into the night!
What destinations are still on your bucket list?
Everywhere I haven’t been before, but the first few that jump to mind are Papua New Guinea to surf and spearfish, Raja Ampat for its beauty, Brazil to kite and I’d love to return to both Mexico and Madagascar.
What are you drinking after a long day on the water?
An ice cold beer!