Meet Tahiti's newest threat, Mihimana Braye

At 20 years old Mihimana Braye is just beginning his quest as a professional surfer. Born in Pape'ete, Tahiti, and raised on a steady diet of reef breaks, he's lived up to his name, which in Tahitian, means "Try to find the spirit," (Mihi means search, mana means spirit, power). Following a runner-up finish at the SEAT Pro Netanya in Israel, Braye seems to be on the right track.

Braye at World Juniors
Mihimana Braye smashes the lip during 2016 World Junior Championship.

WSL: If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Why?
Braye: Home! Tahiti is one of the beautiful places in the world so why change? No season! Perfect waves, only boardshorts, best food, best sunsets and good vibes (It's paradise!).

WSL: Best compliment you've ever gotten?
Braye: Best compliment I've ever got is that I'm humble and kind, always smiling, spreading the good vibes no matter what. It's a culture for us Tahitians to be kind with people and welcoming.

Mihimana Braye (PYF) .Netanya QS 2016 Mihimana Braye at the recent SEAT Pro Netanya. - WSL / Laurent Masurel

WSL: Do you lean toward perfect crowded waves or uncrowded average waves?
Braye: Crowded perfect waves...I would say Teahupo'o but we are locals, so it's not that crowded haha! And an empty average wave Taapuna, a left reefbreak near my house.

WSL: When was the last time you teared up?
Braye: Last time I cried was a [few weeks ago] at the WSL SEAT Pro Netanya, I came in 2nd in the Final of the QS1500 and all the local people from Netanya chaired me up the beach. It was emotional for me. I feel blessed.

Mihimana Braye (PYF) .Netanya QS 2016 Mihimana Braye competes in Israel. - WSL / Laurent Masurel

WSL: What's one of the secrets to your recent success?
Braye: I'm vegetarian right now and I can feel the difference in my body. I used to eat fast food before like an animal haha. Now, only veggies and some fish from Tahiti.

WSL: What's the last song you listened to?
Braye: The last was Me, Myself and I of G-Easy. It reminds me all my hard work at the gym and motivate me a lot. It's my pre-heat warmup song also.

Mihimana Braye (PYF) .Netanya QS 2016 Despite being from Tahiti, Mihimana Braye's small-wave game is on point. - WSL / Laurent Masurel Mihimana Braye (PYF) .Netanya QS 2016 Mihimana Braye goes above the lip. - WSL / Laurent Masurel

WSL: What's one thing you wish you could try?
Braye: I really want to try snowboarding because I been all around the world, but never touched the snow and I love board sports.

Mihimana Braye during the Quarterfinals. Mihimana Braye fans it out. - WSL / Poullenot/Aquashot

WSL: Describe your idea of perfect happiness.
Braye: Perfect happiness means for me to be good with myself first. Then do what you love. Surround [yourself] by good people, family love. Be healthy and, for sure, surfing perfect waves.

Mihimana Braye (PYF) .Netanya QS 2016 Mihimana Braye goes vertical in Israel. - WSL / Laurent Masurel

WSL: Describe your meaning of life.
Braye: For me the meaning of life is four words: happiness, love, health and surf. Live the life you love.