Tauranga surfer and Junior Pro Australian Tour winner Kehu Butler has stepped into the big league, taking on his first world qualifying 3,000 event in the Philippines.
Te Kāea reporter Rukuwai Tipene-Allen caught up with Butler before he heads to the competition.
This is the first time Butler will compete at this level but he says he's up for the challenge.
"Those men's events are judged by points and the biggest points are 10,000 and not many people get into that but hopefully I will next year," says Butler.
He's going up against the likes of John Mark Tokong and Sebastian Williams.
Butler knows it won't be easy but is keeping his goals in mind.
"Getting into some of those men's events so I can get into the bigger ones. Just chasing it pretty much," he says.
The World Series Junior Pro Australian Tour winner credits his Tauranga Moana roots for his love for the sea.
He reflects on a beautiful childhood, "Coming from little Matapihi School to traveling the world... I just want to make my whānau proud and Tauranga proud, and the whole country."
Butler will compete in the Siargao Cloud 9 Surfing Cup at the end of the month.