Ruby got some of the meanest slabs of the day on this rockshelf and (unlike the editor), not once did she hoot herself or brag about barrels to everyone back at the house. (Onorati)

Rubie Reents Speaks Quietly and Carries a big stick


If you’re making Russell Bierke feel like a scaredy cat, you’re doing something right – or wrong depending on how high health and longevity rate among your priorities.

“She goes really hard,” the 19-year-old slab loony says of Rubie Reents, an 18-year-old charger making a name her herself on the east coast, “She’s putting everyone to shame with how hard she’s charging.”

The protégé of former women’s World Champ, Pam Burridge, Rubie is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her east coast heroes, Russ Bierke, Brett Burcher, and Scott ‘Whip’ Dennis chasing mega slabs around the country and becoming Australia’s leading female big wave surfer.

After starting out on the Australian Junior Series and claiming a NSW U18’s State Title, Rubie and her coach decided big, evil pits might be the ‘point of difference’ needed to attract an elusive sponsorship deal. On any day of serious waves at the slabs she’s likely to be the only woman in the lineup, and she’s not afraid.

“There was a time where I was pretty worried watching some of her stacks,” continues Russ. “She definitely gets her waves and she’s been in the lineup a lot the last couple years. She’s super respected. They know if you give her a wave she’s gonna go. She definitely gets sick waves,” he says.

She’s had to pay to play, suffering some serious injuries including an 8cm gash to her head and concussion after head-butting reef (“If I wasn’t bleeding I would have paddled back out,” she says). Rubie admits at the start she might have been trying to prove something to the all-male lineups that dominate the slabs but it’s become a labour of love since then complete with a much deeper understanding of what is required to make a career out of surfing heavy waves.

“I really want to do it but I don’t wanna do it to create my happiness, like, I want that next level, that next wave. I want to do it because I love it. Sometimes those big wave surfers are just doing it to just chase that next wave and it’s just an attachment,” she says, adding, on a more universal level, “It’s really good how it challenges your fear because everyone has blocks and stuff in their life.”

She’s been invited on trips to chase some of Australia’s most mutant slabs and while that remains an aspiration, she’s in no rush. She knows that in waves of mortal consequence if you’re not doing it for the right reasons, you get found out.

“When its that big you gotta have the connection (to the ocean) otherwise you’re obviously not going to be able to do it. There’s so many signs that mother nature gives you, everyone feels it. Just being in the moment, when you have a good surf you’re usually just in the moment, feeling it, not thinking about it,” she says.

Then again, “Sometimes you’re just hoping. It’s hard to know really. I just try to stay in the present. Anything is really possible if you put you’re mind to it.”

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Jed Smith