Team News


Jimi Crooks got his own double page spread for this shot on the only decent south swell from the winter in issue 177 of the NZ surfing mag.  

Photo by Chris Stephenson. 

Elliott Brown at Cloudbreak on his trip he won to Fiji for best overall performance at nationals in Piha at the start of the year.   

Leroy and Jimi in issue 176 sharing a double page spread on a bomb at papas. This image has been tossed around a few times since it was released, but doesn't seem to be getting old... image also by Chris Stephenson. 

Click on any of the images above to shop NZ surfing mag online. Note these images are all scanned and not originals, they look a lot better on paper! 

Introducing the Softech Performance Series

Introducing the Softech Performance Series

Designed for intermediate-to-advanced surfers, this high performance range has been specifically developed to enhance the level of your typical softboard surfing experience. This series has been meticulously designed by industry professionals to closely emulate your standard fiberglass shortboard, striking the perfect balance between paddle power, speed and turning response. The Performance Series offers a versatile range of boards that are suitable in everything from mushy summer beach breaks to heavy barreling conditions. These boards are ideal for surfers looking to advance their skills and confidence, especially for those who are fond of an uncrowded surf in-between the flags. This high performance range brings with it the added bonus of increased durability and longevity, whilst also minimising the hazards of board related accidents.

Handmade from highly durable materials, and constructed using proven manufacturing techniques, these boards are built to withstand the toughest treatment in the heaviest of conditions. Utilising the latest high-density polyurethane (HDPE) materials, the distinctive feel of increased buoyancy has now opened the door to a new style of high-performance surfing that embraces a unique softboard approach to each wave. 

Softech Performance Range:


This all-round hybrid shape has a fuller nose and lots of volume under the chest for easy paddling, and a tapered tail outline for tighter turns in hollow sections.


Designed to be ridden shorter than your usual surfboard for added turning response. This one is fast, stable and surprisingly loose off the tail.


Developed and tested by 2 x ASP World Champion Tom Carroll. Riders will benefit from the extra speed and manoeuvrability with this board allowing them to access more critical parts of the wave. 


A stable & responsive hybrid shortboard that is a great all-rounder, balancing stability with responsiveness. The versatile shape will perform well in mushy or hollow conditions.  

Design Features:


Screw in your favourite FCS fins for additional drive and response.


Custom Profile Rails Complement each model and elevate the feel and response of the board when executing turns


100% Waterproof X-Density EPS foam core add structure and stability to the flex pattern.


High Density Polyethylene slick top and bottom skins improve speed and stiffens the overall flex pattern to provide more drive, acceleration and turning response.


Multilayer composite stringers are reinforced with resin adding stiffness and flex memory so they perform more like a fiberglass surfboard.


 Reinforced X-Mesh significantly strengthens the skin of the board to maintain the structural integrity of the shape and performance longevity.

RPM History

The brand RPM

On Behind The Brand, we bring to you the stories behind our labels at Hydro Surf. If a brand isn't doesn't have a story worth tell, they're not worth selling. We thought why not start things off with our longest reigning favourite, New Zealand's very own RPM.

since 1994

Founded in 1994, RPM originated as a Snow Outerwear brand, but their roots in surfing and skating soon saw them grow broader into the market and become the iconic company we know today. Still based in Mount Maunganui, and still driven by a small collective of good nature'd creative humans! We've been stocking RPM since the begging, and have never looked back - until now... let's take a peek!

gone surfing

new zealand's premier surfwear label earns it's salt

It's hard to imagine living in Mount Maunganui if you're a surfer, because there's probably no more sheltered stretch of coast for swell in the whole of NZ, than the big B.O.P. Yet still there's such a strong history of surfing that belongs to the Mount that one cannot really right the place off. In fact, many of the country's best surfers have been raised on these sandy, sunny, north facing beaches, and if you make the effort to stay there a while you will soon find it's well worth the wait when the waves do come, and it's central location between many of the best surfing spots in the North Island continues to see it grow more popular still. RPM's always been behind surfing, and though it doesn't publish itself heavily in that way, you needn't think back long, or flick far through a magazine until you find their strong presence.

The RPM Surf Team, on an NZ Tour. 2008. Photos L-R: The RPM Collection - via Silas Hansen

Kaikoura / Dunedin Surfer, Nat Parsons blowing the top off a wave at St Kilda.

Natty P featured in a lot of exciting RPM surf imagery over the years. Here he is going sky high!

Unlike most sales representatives these days, RPM's Mike Wheeler actually surfs - really good !

Wheeler, sneaking a quick one in on his lunch break.

Oh, and the snow.

RPM also produce some of the best snow outerwear that's available any wear!!

RPM rider Nick Brown getting deep in Japan. 2016 Photo @woodygphoto 

Nick Brown, Nick Hyne and Stef Zeestraten going back country at Mt Cook. 2015.

RPM brand manager Ben Parry loves the white stuff, and plays a big part in the Outerwear Program. 2015

Behind the SCENE'S.

RPM's original, Mike Smith, busting out from behind the scenes for this classic old denim advertisement.

Mike and Emmit outside the RPM headquarters. 2004.

Mike at the NZ Snow Industries annual Trade Show. 2005.


New Zealand brand, based in Mt Maunganui.


Consistently committed to making the best quality clothing possible.

New from RPM

The 2016 Spring / Summer Range has just hit the shelves, click above to check it out.

Shop Women

Click the image above to check out the new range.

Shop Men

Click the image above to check out the new range.

Thank you.

For reading our little story on RPM.

Construction happening at St Clair

Construction at St Clair

It's been a long time, but, there's finally something happening in the vacant lot next door. The surprise for many is that the vacant lot is not where the construction will be, rather that's the base site for operations on the building behind the vacant lot - the last little cottage, which is in between The Hydro, and Spirit House. See below for more info.

Construction here will be taking place over the next 12 months. The changes you will see to the footpath and parking between The Hydro Building and Starfish are just going to be a temporary closures during week days over this year period. Un-fortunately it's not the prettiest thing to look at, but it is at least interesting to watch, I'd recommend stopping by for a gander! 

It's this immediate period of major earth works which will be taking place over the next few months that will likely cause the most disruptions for us 'the public'. We urge you all to keep on life as usual, and tackle the Esplanade as you normally chose. A couple of parks will be missing, but there's plenty more around, and there will be noise sometimes but the weekends will be quiet as usual, and the restaurants, cafes and our shop will be trading as usual. Large construction machinery and trucks will be coming and going from the site, and there may be some times where they slow the traffic on The Esplanade strip, but there will be traffic officials helping manage these times. If you desperately need to hurtle your road rage and abuse, they'll all be well marked in Fluro uniforms and hard hats.

We will be documenting the changes and putting up regular posts with updates and how-to tips to handle the construction site on our Facebook, and this Hydro Surf Blog. Stay tuned.

Hydro Surf

Saint Clair's Southern Right Whales

Tohora , Eubalaena australis

Some of you may know that Southern Right whales (or Tohora, in our native tongue) are seen occasionally from the mainland coast of New Zealand, but you have to be pretty lucky to spot any and if you've seen some yourself, or heard of it in the past, they're mostly just fleeting moments. This week has been a buzz at St Clair with a pair that have not only visited, but seem to be hanging around to enjoy the mild winter weather. A native migrant to New Zealand, Tohora range mainly between 20°S and 55°S and travel into calmer coastal waters during end of Winter and early Spring for mating (romance). The uncharacteristically small surf conditions we've had for this season are potentially part of the reason they're in so close right now, and as their visits here have been on days with flat water and calm winds, we hope to see them back tomorrow when the swell drops off again! We will be posting alerts on Facebook and Instagram if we see any sign of activity so you don't miss this very special thing. The only places where New Zealand's right whales can be found consistently and in reasonable numbers are at the Auckland Islands and Campbell Island. 


The stories of old with Whales being hunted here in Otago send chills down the spine, and it seems hard to fathom either the whalers practice, or the whales themselves being 'viable' creatures to hunt. Strangely though this was a key component of The Early European Settlement here, as these whales were highly prized by whalers for their oil (used for heating and lighting) and whalebone (or baleen), which was made into corsets and parasols. The industry grew particularly strong in Otago between 1830-1850 until the whales were hunted to the brink of extinction, with estimates around 70 and as low as 30 individuals being left. The name 'Right Whale' echos eerily the ideas of the time, with these lovely creatures being the 'right' whale to hunt as they're slow-paced swimmers (travelling no more than 9 kilometres per hour), they were easy to catch; they supplied larger quantities of oil than other species; when harpooned they floated rather than sank.

Protection for these whales in New Zealand Waters has been in place since 1937, and good news for everyone is that these coastal sightings appear to be becoming more common. The New Zealand population is thought to be now increasing at about 5% per year! Long may they return! 

Whale Footage and DOC interview


Eubalaena australis

For more information on our friendly Southern Right Whales, click the link below.

Hydro Surf Shop

Thanks to these websites for their information:


SwimEars just released in New Zealand!

New Zealand SwimEars Ambassador

"We are stoked to be using SwimEars. Why? Most earplugs have a ‘one size fits all’ mentality. SwimEars enable you to custom fit the plug to your ears – how cool is that? If you are like us one of the frustrating things about wearing an earplug is you are then cut off from your swim mates – you can no longer hear them. Well SwimEars are also designed to let sound in! The third ‘win’ for us is that the plugs are connected via a leash. We were a little sceptical to begin however the leash fits nicely under the cap and that one time in hundred your custom fitted plug falls out (maybe when swimming with dolphins) you don’t lose it!" - Dan Abel

Dan is the owner and head coach for open water swim specialist swim company He is also a pioneer in New Zealand of open water sportive swimming under the brand RealSwim Adventures

Global SwimEars Ambassador

“This is truly a revolutionary product. Keeping the ear canal open and dry while swimming has changed my feel for the water, the added bonus of being able to hear clearly while submerged will help triathletes relax and be more aware while in open water.” - Dave Scott

Dave is the most recognized athlete and coach in the sport of triathlon. He is a six-time Ironman World Champion and the first inductee into the Ironman Hall of Fame

All you need to know about SwimEars

FCS II - 11 Events / 11 Wins

2015 was a huge year of victories for FCS II on the WSL World Championship Tour. In fact, every single event on the Men’s WCT tour was won by a surfer riding the FCS II system and fins. From the first event at Snapper Rocks where Filipe came firing out of the gates, through to Adriano’s victory at Pipe to claim his maiden World Title, the FCS II system and fins were an integral part of the surfer’s success. Carissa Moore also claimed her third WSL World Title riding the FCS II system, and FCS global team rider Gabriel Medina showed his Hawaiian prowess by winning the prestigious Triple Crown Series. To date, no other fin system can claim a single World Title, so as the statistics continue to rise, FCS is proud to celebrate wins.FCS II… The New World Standard Fin System

Which Fin Won? 

Quiksilver Pro, Snapper Rocks (Winner: Filipe Toledo – FCS II Performer PCC Medium)

Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach (Winner: Mick Fanning – FCS II MF PC Large)

Drug Aware Pro, Margaret River (Winner: Adriano De Souza – FCS II Carver PCC Medium)

Oi Rio Pro, (Winner: Filipe Toledo – FCS II MF PC Medium)

Fiji Pro, Cloudbreak Fiji (Winner: Owen Wright – FCS II MF PC Large)

J-Bay Pro,  (Winners: Mick Fanning/Julian Wilson – FCS II MF PC Large)

Billabong Pro, Teahupoo Tahiti (Winner: Jeremy Flores – FCS II MF PC Medium)

Hurley Pro, Trestles (Winner: Mick Fanning – FCS II MF PC Large)

Quiksilver Pro, France (Winner: Gabriel Medina – FCS II GM PCC Large)

Moche Rip Curl Pro, Portugal (Winner: Filipe Toledo – FCS II Performer PCC Medium)

Billabong Pro, Pipeline (Winner: Adriano De Souza – FCS II Carver PCC Medium)

Kehu Butler - First Red Bull New Zealand Surf Athelete



Young Arataki born Kehu Butler has been closely watched since 2012, and this week has finally rode his wave into the Red Bull family, as the company’s first ever New Zealand surf athlete.

The 15-year-old has unquestionable talent and style, and enjoyed an afternoon earlier this week checking out the Warriors training at Mt Smart Stadium. After a tour of the club, Kehu was surprised by Red Bull expedition kayak athlete Ben Brown, who handed over Kehu’s new branded cap. Kehu was also welcomed by Warriors star Shaun Johnson in front of the whole NRL team, gifting Kehu his freshly Red Bull decaled board. It was a special moment for the teenager.

“That was probably one of the best days of my life,” says Kehu. “I’m a huge league fan and Shaun Johnson is one of my heroes. I got to play a quick game of one-on-one touch with him and I stepped him [laughs]. I’m a big Warriors fan so it was a sweet bonus.”

Surfing is in Kehu Butler’s blood. His grand-uncle Paul Bennett won a national title in the 1970s and was the first Maori surfer to compete overseas. His father Khan and uncle Matt both represented New Zealand and when Khan helped his young son onto a surfboard for the first time at the age of six, he knew his boy had inherited the surfing genes.


“I pushed him into the whitewash in the waves of Arataki, the small community in Mount Maunganui where we’re from, and he stood up straight away,” says Khan. “He hasn't looked back since.”

“We’d watch guys like Tom Curren, Kelly Slater and Andy Irons and I’d try to mimic their cutbacks, turns and style,” says Kehu. “Dad wanted me to have the basics down pat before I started to get into anything freakish!”

When he wasn’t surfing, Kehu and his cousin would go to the local skate park to work on his turns and transitions.

“We worked really hard to get his foundations right before moving onto the bigger stuff, like airs and tricks,” says Khan. “He’s having fun with that now, and breaking a lot of boards! We watched the old guys that surf the wave like they’re dancing, so we worked on his flow and nailing good rail manoeuvres. He has a real clean, smooth style. That’s his trump card.”

Kehu started winning local comps at a young age, but his first major win was in Piha at the Rip Curl Grom Search in 2010. Just nine-years-old at the time, Kehu won the U12s and finished fourth in the U14s.

“That was pretty sweet,” says Kehu. “I remember walking up the beach to Dad with a huge smile on my face. I started getting a few sponsors after that [Quicksilver, global, Skull Candy, FCS, Gorilla Grip, Electric, Smoothstar] and started thinking about surfing as a career.”

The following year at a competition in Australia, Gary Cruickshank the head coach of the Australian High Performance Squad paid him the ultimate compliment.

“He told Kehu that he reminded him of Kelly Slater on the water,” says Khan. “Kelly Slater is one of his favourite surfers so that was huge.”

In 2012 Kehu won the U12 final in the Skullcandy Oz Grom Open in Lennox Heads. Two years later he was back to claim the U14 crown. That same year he won the New Zealand national U14 title and finished second in the U16 category. He also made his mark on the world stage, finishing 7th in the U16 ISA World Grommet Championship at Salinas Beach in Ecuador.

Kehu had another stellar year in 2015 winning the U16 and U18 national titles, finishing 3rd in the Rip Curl International GromSearch in Brazil and topping it off with a win in Occy’s Grom competition in Coolangatta, Queensland. The Occy Grom competition is one of the most prestigious junior surfing competitions in Australia and it confirmed Kehu’s potential as one of the best young surfers in the world.


“He’d been trying to win it for a few years and he absolutely smashed it in the final,” says Khan. “He pulled this huge big air reverse and he usually doesn't do moves like that in competition. He usually relies on his smooth style. His family were all there to support him and we carried him up the beach on our shoulders after the final and did a haka for him. That was pretty special.”

Kehu turns 16 at the end of March and his big goal this year is to win the U16 ISA World Junior Championship in Portugal in September. After that, the sky’s the limit.


“Long term I want to make the WCT but my ultimate goal is to be world champ one day,” he says. “I just want to go hard and give it my best every time I get on the water.”


Read Kehu Butler’s full profile on

How to check for Melanoma

Aloe Up Ultra Pro Sport Sunscreen

Available in SPF 15, 30 and 50.Aloe Up Pro Ultra Sport formula was designed for the extreme athlete in mind. With a 35% by volume pure Aloe Vera Gel base, Aloe Up provides natural moisturizing while protecting from UVA and UVB rays.

Aloe Up sunscreens leave no greasy residue and are Water Resistant (80 minutes) enabling you to compete outdoors knowing Aloe Up won’t run in your eyes while protecting you from the suns’ damaging rays. The unique combination of these 5 active sunscreens in an aloe base provide full Broad Spectrum Protection. Aloe Up Pro Ultra Sport does not contain undesirable ingredients such as Oxybenzone, Parabens, Mineral Oil and Alcohol.


SurfEars 2.0

SurfEars 2.0 

Large numbers of surfers, swimmers and water sports enthusiasts suffer from ear problems associated with excessive exposure to the elements. Ear infections and the dreaded "surfers ear” is a condition on the rise with increasing numbers seeking medical attention and ear surgery. SurfEars 2.0® is a revolutionary new product developed by a team of professional product designers and dedicated surfers from Sweden. SurfEars recognised that the critical difference between SurfEars and other earplug products is they not only protect ears from water, cold air, and contaminants but also maximize sound and subsequent balance essential for most water and board sports. Many of the earplugs on the market today block out sound, therefore large numbers of surfers choose to go without plugs. SurfEars was designed to keep the water out but also let the sound in, to enable users to stay connected to the environment.

How It Works

SurfEars are designed with an acoustic mesh that can be found in high end audio applications, blocking out water and protecting the ear while allowing the maximum amount of sound to enter the ear canal. The mesh is connected to a plastic core designed to replicate the natural resonance frequency of the ear and boosting acoustic performance. Independent tests show that SurfEars have close to zero acoustic loss in the frequency range of human speech. We’ve redesigned SurfEars 2.0 so you’ll be able to hear even be tter. Inverting the fixation between gel and core, we’ve managed to increase the area of the sound channel by 72%, while the triangular shape of the opening has increased surface area by 32%.

Other notable improvements are:
• Improved hearing due to increased volume of sound canal 
• Improved hydrophobic coating (HY+), stays unclogged longer 
• Leash option with length adjuster & wetsuit clip 
• New improved ear buds with improved fit water seal.  Improved fit for those with advanced Surfers Ear development