This month we’re back with our quickfire Q+A-style interview featuring Rhys Fitt – qualified builder, surfer, dad, and Red Beach local frother.  

So, let’s get started with the simple stuff. Who is Rhys Fitt?  
Husband to Kiri, Dad to Nat and Daisy. Residential builder. Surfer.  

Why did you decide to become a tradie?
For me, it was the appeal of working outside, not in a cramped office. And I really enjoy working with tools and timber and the craftsmanship involved.   

Where are you based? And what do you like about living there?
I am based in Red Beach. Living here is an absolute joy; it has been a great community to raise our kids in. It’s in close proximity to the Orewa Bar and the Northern Coast – plenty to enjoy when the waves light up. 

What are your favourite offsite activities, and what’s the appeal?
For fun, I ride a 9’8” old-school longboard and I enjoy chasing the appropriate waves to compliment this style of board. The appeal of this style of board is the aesthetic and functional elements. It is technically very hard to ride these boards properly and it is a never-ending work-in-progress to get it right. The addiction of trying to get it wired gets under your skin.  

I am very fortunate that the circle of friends I surf with all share the same thought process and surf with skills that inspire me to try and keep up. 

Who is your tradie hero?
My tradie hero is my father. To this day I don’t know anyone who could take a first look at complicated house plans and decipher potential problems and inaccuracies immediately! He was just born to build. 

What will you always buy, regardless of how much it costs?
Coffee. And wax! 

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement in both your life and career?
My greatest achievement has been raising our kids, Nat and Daisy. It has been the best journey ever and they are both incredible humans. They keep inspiring me to be better. 

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned throughout your journey into the trades?
The biggest lesson I have learnt as a tradie is that assumption is the biggest fuck up (don’t know if I can say that? haha). Also: hurry slowly because nobody likes having to do it twice! 

Name the most beautiful place you’ve ever been. Why?
It has to be Sayulita, Mexico. In 2005, before it became commercialised and crowded. Warm sunshine, fun waves, fish tacos out of a caravan, buckets of corona – simple rustic Mexican life. 

Someone steals your Spotify login details. What music would they find?
Early Bruce Springsteen (pre-mainstream 80s) and Oz pub rock. 

If you had to pick a couple of people who have been the most influential in your life/career, who would they be, and why?
My wife Kiri. She is always supportive of whatever decisions have to be made – good or bad. Her calm presence makes me a better human. She is my rock! 

If you could time travel, what year would you visit?
I reckon I would like to visit the late 1960s! That era appeals to me as it was a much simpler time.  

What do you hope that folks will say about you at your funeral?
I hope they’ll say that I was always myself – what you see is what you get.  

Title of your autobiography? 
Keep it Simple! 

Paint us a picture: describe your perfect day.
It would start with waking up early and surfing clean, uncrowded waves on a good sand bank with Nat and a couple of my closest mates, enjoying the banter and laughter that goes hand in hand with a good log session. Afterwards, we’d come home to Kiri and Daisy and go out for a Mexican feast (+ coronas) at our favourite Mexican restaurant. 

What profession would you pursue if you couldn’t do what you do now?
Landscaping could be fun. I think it’s the appeal of the outdoors and the opportunity to be creative. 

Consider the trades industry as we currently know it. Is there anything we could/should be doing better?
The trades industry is complicated and somewhere along the way it has become very expensive, with high liabilities that have to be accounted for. I don’t know how, but we need to find a way to turn this cycle around to protect the future of our industry.