Growing up on Australia's Sunshine Coast, Reef Heazlewood flew onto the scene in Hawaii in 2018, looked like a shoo-in to eventually graduate the Championship Tour, but then last year suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery to repair and forced him to step back, regroup and refocus his energy. And now, after a year on the mend, he's making the most of his opportunity to step back into the competitive spotlight.
In the most recent four Qualifying Series events in Australia he finished with first, third and fifth-place results, only missing the finals rounds once. Matt Banting, who we'll now see at the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona as an injury replacement, sits above him on the QS Leaderboard.
From Gary Elkerton to Julian Wilson, the Sunny Coast has churned out a surf star or two over the years, and Heazlewood appears next in line.
"I feel like from the start coming from the Sunshine Coast you had to battle against the Goldie kids because they're a bit more in the spotlight, so that was always a little bit of a battle," Reef explained. "But I've always been one that's been happy to let my surfing do the talking."
That being said, Hurley just dropped a new edit featuring Heazlewood's last month of action. In or out of a jersey, his surfing is definitely doing a lot of talking these days. Keep a sharp eye on him, he's going places.