Kia ora, I'm Mike Baker, I live on Wainui beach in Gisborne, Turanganui a kiwa.
I finally moved up from the South Island 3 years ago after 35 years of surf trips up here and love every grain of sand and every ripple.
I started surfing at age 11 in Perth, WA and after 40 years of shortboard riding - 10 years of competing in the UK and Europe and surfing in the English National team, 15 years ago I jumped into full-time bodysurfing using a hardboard and never looked back.
I've been a team rider for Seventhwave Wetsuits since 2014.
In 2015 I represented NZ Aotearoa and the Del Mar Bodysurfing Club in San Diego, California, bodysurfing in their team at the 39th World Bodysurfing Champs at Oceanside and made 2nd place in one of the contests.
I had been an Ambassador for Slyde Handboards in California before I went over so once there, they invited me to be a team rider for them too, which was totally awesome. On the way home I swam out with a friend and we bodysurfed Pipeline Ehukai Beach Park on the North Shore of Oahu, which was definitely one of the high points in my life! I've surfed through England, Ireland, Wales, France, Spain, Portugal, WA and the East Coast of Aus, Samoa and Indonesia and I'm still pretty much as excited as a grom!
I turn 68 in July this year so I consider my greatest achievement is actually being sponsored and a team rider for Seventhwave Wetsuits here and Slyde Handboards in California. What a privilege! I've been cold-water surfing most of my life and I haven`t found any wetsuit to beat Seventhwave, anywhere in the World.
I bodysurf with a Gath Hat and GoPro mount all year round, so I have a lot of barrel footage and I'm always hunting up the hollowest waves I can find, which means frequently swimming out to offshore reefs and slabs, off the beaten tracks. I'm a Personal Trainer at Anytime Fitness in Gisborne, a Taijiquan teacher of 38 years and Masseur so my bodysurfing rounds this all out pretty well.
I've been using the Custom MAX Mens Titanium Steamer (glued and stitched zip bib, 4/3 Zirconium), since I was brought on the team. The 4/3 Titanium MAX keeps me warm enough to have 3-4hr sessions in mid-winter. I need the warmest configuration I can get, as I am fully immersed the whole time and it is like being permanently in a freezing cold vice. I supplement the MAX with a Titanium rashy to fill any gaps and this combo keeps me toasty all winter! I used this in the South Island and still use it for long sessions on the NE coast of the North Island. My wetties are always red and black for high vis in the water and I use red and black Da Fins to complete the gear.
In the Summer I use the Custom MAX Mens Titanium Chest Zip Summer Steamer, 3mm all over. For comfort I use a Seventhwave rashy to finish up. This Summer wettie is the same colour combo of red and black as my winter 4/3 MAX.
I also use 2mm fin socks because I am out in the water for hours usually and this keeps the warmth of the wetties sealed in. I use a Gath Hat Helmet with a GoPro mount and video all my sessions, so I can lift out any images that are worth keeping as well as the vids. The helmet also means I don't need to wear ear plugs - it keeps my head warm all winter and assists against exostosis/surfers ear, loose surfboards, sharp reefs and pile-driving shore-breaks.
My wife also has a 3mm Max for the summer and loves it.
What is it you love about our gear the most?
I love Seventhwave Wetsuits because the service is fantastic: supportive, helpful, super-friendly and professional. I love both my Winter and Summer wetties.
For bodysurfing, I need to be able to swim and move fast in the water in any direction, so the flex of these suits is awesome and I dont get any extra water inside at all. Often I will come out after a 3 hr session and my torso will still be dry.
My Seventhwave wetsuits out-perform in every way, all other brands I have used in the past - custom or off-the-peg.
Where is your local surf spot?
I live on the beach at Wainui in Gisborne, so as we have six protected World Heritage surf breaks - beach-breaks, points and reefs within 15mins drive of my house, I'm pretty spoiled for choice. Being a bodysurfer I'm into hollow beach-breaks and reefs and we have both of those right here. We get swell from the N-NE all the way around to the S so in three years here I've only seen my local flat a few times. Our usual prevailing winds are NW which is offshore, so its perfect with clean swells hitting our coast regularly, but there are places to go if the winds are side shore - N or S.
What is your favourite Wetsuit or Seventhwave accessory? My fave Wetsuit is both the Winter and Summer Max for warmth, flexibility and durability. My fave accessories are my Seventhwave black cap and my hoodie - I wear them all year round. All are Awesome, right there!