Tauranga Moana surfer Kehu Butler has achieved a career best, placing second at the Phillip Island QS1000 in Australia. The result should see the talented surfer jump 100-odd places to just inside of the top 200 in the world.
"I had a 8.5 and a 7.5 and he had a 9-point-something and an 8. The waves were pumping and all I really needed was one more good wave. It didn't come in the end, but it was a mean final though," says Butler of his second placing.
"I wasn't really thinking about it, and then I managed to crack that and if I get a few more better spots then I'll hopefully get into those bigger events for the top guys," he says.
Butler was originally named in the NZ Junior Surfing Team competing in the VISSLA ISA World Championships that were held in California last week, but opted to pull out of the event. His decision has paid off as he continues to make a name for himself on the international stage.
“I was selected to go to the ISA worlds. I had to either toss it up between that comp or this one. The ISA Worlds is huge but at the end of the day, I want to try and make the tour and that's pretty much why I did this comp- to get some points."
Butler hasn't wasted any time, he is back to training this week with head trainer and top surfer, Adam Robinson, in Melbourne.
"He's got some real good connections with Kelly Slater and heaps of the pros. He knows his stuff and I'm grateful to learn from him," says Butler
The 2018 Australasian champ will spend the week training with Robinson before returning to NZ.