Surfer turns pipeline dream into reality after advertising job redundancy

Annabelle Reynolds was made redundant from her advertising job.
Annabelle Reynolds was made redundant from her advertising job. Photo credit: Supplied / Instagram @mishsurfsociety

Annabelle Reynolds never imagined she'd end up turning her passion for the ocean into a career.

It's something she used to dream about, but never thought it would be a reality.

"I'd always talk with friends and say, 'imagine if we could surf every day of our lives and how amazing that would be,'" she says.

"But obviously that was a far-flung dream... that would never happen."  

Reynolds was deeply ingrained in the advertising industry. She spent a decade working at various agencies, until her last role at DDB New Zealand working on the Vodafone account. 

"There's quite a lot of pressure, but I loved it. It was busy, and you're working hour to hour, minute to minute." 

She told The Pivot, a Newshub podcast, it was a role she saw herself in for many years; "It was what I'd be doing until I retired."

But just like the world, her work began to slow as COVID-19 tightened its grip. 

Her job survived New Zealand's first lockdown in March and even one round of redundancies at the agency. She thought she was safe, until she wasn't. 

"In no way did I think it was going to happen to me," she says. "The morning of, I was feeling quite confident, and then I got an email saying that I was one of the few that would be on the list of redundancies. 

"I remember chatting on our zoom call and I just had tears rolling down my face." 

In that moment of panic, Reynolds decided to go to the one place she knew she could find calm. 

"I took some time out and drove down to the beach, had a walk and took my shoes off and got my feet in the water. 

"For me I guess, it's my meditation." 

Then, she says, she had a lightbulb moment. 

"It sounds like a dream, but all of a sudden this thought came into my mind for Mish. It was like a spark. 

"I just thought, 'wow, this is a great idea, maybe I should run with this.'" 

That's when Mish Surf Society was born and what started as a ride-sharing business blossomed into a website and community for Kiwi surfers to connect and learn. 

"I had a chat to my surf buddies and they were like, it's a no brainer, why didn't we think about this before?"

To hear more about how Reynolds started her business, listen to the full episode of The Pivot - hosted by Newshub's Wilhelmina Shrimpton - now on Spotify or Apple.