Teen Tauranga surfer Kehu Butler has become the first ever Red Bull surf athlete.

Red Bull have stated on their website that the 15-year-old had been closely watched since 2012, and this week has finally rode the wave into the Red Bull family.

Kehu was also welcomed to the family by Warriors star Shaun Johnson, gifting Kehu his freshly Red Bull decaled board.

Read more: Rallycross future in doubt after poor turnout

Advertisement

"That was probably one of the best days of my life," Kehu said.

"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. I'm a big Warriors fan so that's a sweet bonus."

Surfer Kehu Butler and dad Kahn in 2014. Photo/file
Surfer Kehu Butler and dad Kahn in 2014. Photo/file

Surfing is in Kehu'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.

"We'd watch guys like Tom Curren, Kelly Slater and Andy Irons and I'd try to mimic their cutbacks, turns and style," Kehu said.

"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.

Mr Butler said his son has not looked back since.

"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," Mr Butler said.

"We worked really hard to get his foundations right before moving onto the bigger stuff, like airs and tricks," Mr Butler said.

"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."