An unstoppable Billy Stairmand (Raglan) has today (Saturday 16th January) claimed his third straight national title at the 2016 Billabong National Surfing Championships presented by Health 2000, held at St Clair Beach, Dunedin.
By claiming the title, Stairmand has equalled the New Zealand record of five titles that is held by Auckland surfers Wayne Parkes and Iain Buchanan. 1987 was the last time a hat-trick of victories has been achieved (Iain Buchanan).
Contrastingly, Stairmand was joined by Ella Williams (WGM) who surfed to her first title in the Open Women’s Division.
Host club South Coast Boardriders Association claimed the club championship over defending champions Bay Boardriders of Mount Maunganui and Christchurch club North Wai Boardriders who placed third.
The day got off to a slow start as competitors waited for the building swell. By 10:30am conditions were contestable and the swell increased to 2.0m by the time the premier finals of the event were held late in the afternoon. A variable onshore breeze persisted throughout the day.
Stairmand’s ability to lift in the big finals of the National Championships is well known and today was no different. He found himself trailing his good friend and board shaper Luke Hughes early in the 30 minute final.
Hughes’ lead, which included scores of 8.4 and 8.0 out of a possible ten points, was no issue for Stairmand as he built his scores first with an 8.77 then a 9.13 and a 9.03 to take the lead leaving his closest opponent, Hughes, needing a near perfect 9.58 point ride for victory.
“Starting the year off with a win is always good and to have my name on that trophy with all those amazing surfers like Al Byrne, Wayne Parkes, Iain Buchanan, Maz and Jay Quinn is crazy, I am stoked to win any day but Nationals is always amazing” exclaimed Stairmand.
“Hughesy kept me on my feet at the start, he is my shaper and I couldn’t let him win but he started off with two eight point rides and I knew I had to step it up. The waves just kept on pumping and pumping and I am just so stoked the waves were good for our final and let me have the opportunity to show my best surfing and eventually win” he added.
Stairmand is heading to Hawaii in the next two weeks to start his international campaign at the Volcom Pipe Masters so to win here this week is a good confidence boost. “I am nervous going over for that event but I have surfed some good waves down here outside of the competition and I am aiming for a good result” said Stairmand who hopes to meet up with New Zealand’s top ranked surfer Ricardo Christie during the first event of the year.
Stairmand finished today’s final with an 18.17 point heat total, Hughes unable to further his 16.40 point heat start but still finishing runner up and producing his career best result.
The race between Stairmand and Maz Quinn (Gis) for five titles was unfortunately lost by Maz who finished third. Quinn battled with Stairmand from the quarterfinals this week, beating him once but placing second to Stairmand in the semifinals and losing again in the final. Quinn could not find the right waves in the todays match up and with pressure mounting started to go for broke to bridge the gap but ended up falling on crucial waves.
Placing fourth in the final was local hero JC Susan who also went missing in the final after a stellar run throughout the week. Susan, the only goofy foot surfer in the final, finished with a heat total of 8.17 points.
Stairmand with five titles and three straight is a complete contrast to Open Women’s Division winner Ella Williams (WGM) who claimed her first title today.
Despite a lack of wins at New Zealand’s most prestigious event, Williams accolades made her a favourite for the event and she delivered with a win courtesy of a 13.5 point heat total. Like Stairmand, Williams has her sights set on international ambitions this year but for this week it has all about been achieving a childhood goal.
“I have dreamed of getting that title since I was seven years old” said Williams. Ever since I have been going in comps, I have wanted to get my hands on this trophy. It has always been a tough challenge with the good surfers coming through, so to finally get it caps off a great week” she added.
Up against three younger competitors, Williams knew she had to find the right waves and when she took a left early in the final and got stuck on the inside, she knew she was up against it.
“It was pumping today, it was good to have such good waves for a comp, we all got a good opportunity and luckily it was a 30 minute final for me and that gave me time to secure the win but congrats to the girls they were all surfing well.”
Williams now turns her attention to qualifying for the World Tour and after sitting in 29th at the end of 2015, her focus is now on the first event of the year to be staged at Burleigh Heads in Australia at the start of February where she aims to push toward a top six ranking.
Placing second in the Women’s Final was Kea Smith (Mnt). Smith contested three finals today placing runner up in each, an amazing effort for the fifteen year old surfer. Smith ended with an 11.1 point heat total to beat fellow triple finalist Elin Tawharu (Mnt) who finished in third and Bianca Sansom (Auck) who finished in fourth.
Dunedin’s Elliot Brown claimed the third title for local surfers winning the Under 18 Boys Division. Brown bested his three opponents in a close battle that had 2.5 points separating all four competitors.
“I am so happy to take out the Under 18s in Dunedin, it means so much to me” explained a humble Brown. “I didn’t make the 16s final so to make this final and win, it is even better, I am super happy to take that out.
Brown said that it was stressful after surfing to a first good score of a 7.70. He knew he only needed a small score to move in to first but that score didn’t come until the last minute of the final when he snatched the victory. “It has been cool to have the comp down here with all the home support and seeing all the top surfers in New Zealand surfing my home break” added Brown whilst reflecting on the week.
Brown defeated Sam Sands (Chch) who finished runner up, Jonas Tawharu (Mnt) in third and Caleb Cutmore (Ham) in fourth.
Australian based Kaya Horne took out the Under 16 Boys Division adding the title to his Under 14 Boys win in 2015. Horne was too good for his opponents with young Dunedin surfer Jack McLeod finishing runner up ahead of Jared Gebert (Ohope) in third and Joel Clegg (Tara) in fourth.
Triple finalist Elin Tawahru (Mnt) may have tired in the Open Women’s Final but after claiming two titles in the age group divisions, perhaps it was to be expected. Tawharu, along with Kea Smith had a massive day of surfing and she managed to cross the first two hurdles with victories. First was the Under 16 Girls Division where she defeated Smith in the final along with Zhana Hutchieson (Tara) in third and Tiana-Breeze De Mooij (Mnt) in fourth. Next up was the Under 18 Girls Division where Smith again placed runner up with Raiha Ensor (Mnt) in third and Billie Scott (Whangarei) in fourth.
Dunedin local Felix Dickson took another title for the Dunedin surfer winning the Over 28 Men’s Division. Dickson started with an excellent nine point ride before finishing with a 15.6 point heat total. Dickson defeated Daniel Kereopa (Rag) who finished second, Josh Thickpenny (Dun) in third and Luke Hughes (Rag) in fourth.
Daniel Kereopa claimed four runner-up finishes contesting the most heats of any surfer on the final day and throughout the week. Kereopa also finished runner up in the Longboard Division to Zen Wallis (Piha), Stand Up Paddleboard to three time champion Shayne Baxter (Chch) and Over 35 Men’s Division to Jarred Hancox (Tara).
Additional title wins in the senior divisions went to Mike Christensen (Chch) in the Over 40 Men’s Division, Morgan Cronin (Auck) in the Over 45 Men’s Division, Neill Robb (Chch) in the Over 50 Men’s Division and Ken Nicholson (Auck) in the Over 55 Men’s Division.
Alexis Poulter (Waihi Beach) claimed her second title of the event in the Women’s Longboard after winning the Women’s Stand Up Paddleboard earlier in the week. Sam Sands (Chch) won the Junior Men’s Longboard Division.
The youngest competitors in the event got their chance early in the proceedings and Thomas Robinson (Whangarei) capped off a stellar week by taking home his first ever title. Robinson posted a 12.91 point heat total that included a 6.67 point ride on his last wave. Robinson defeated Maddy Barclay (Oamaru) who finished in second ahead of Ruben Peyroux (Dun) in third and Taylor O’Leary (Mur) in fourth.
Local surfer Tash Civil claimed the Senior Women’s Division over Sarah Armstrong – Park (Chch) in second, Lucy Te Moananui (Kaik) in third and Margurite Vujcich (HBay) in fourth.
Please see below for final results from the 2016 Billabong National Surfing Championships presented by Health 2000 completed at St Clair Beach, Dunedin today (Saturday 16th January).
Open Men’s Division Final
Billy Stairmand (Rag), 18.17, 1, Luke Hughes (Rag), 16.40, 2, Maz Quinn (Gis), 13.57, 3, JC Susan (Dun), 8.17, 4
Under 18 Boys Division Final
Elliot Brown (Dun), 12.5, 1, Sam Sands (Chch), 11.1, 2, Jonas Tawharu (Mnt), 10.3, 3, Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 10.2, 4
Under 16 Boys Division Final
Kaya Horne (Mnt), 13.37, 1, Jack McLeod (Dun), 10.6, 2, Jared Gebert (Ohope), 9.73, 3, Joel Clegg (Tara), 9.17, 4
Under 14 Boys Division Final
Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 12.9, 1, Maddy Barclay (Oam), 10.1, 2, Ruben Peyroux (Dun), 7.9, 3, Taylor O’Leary (Mur), 5.17, 4
Open Women’s Division Final
Ella Williams (Whmata), 13.5, 1, Kea Smith (Mnt), 11.1, 2, Elin Tawahru (Mnt), 8.2, 3, Bianca Sansom (Auck), 7.37, 4
Over 30 Women’s Division Final
Tash Civil (Dun), 8.33, 1, Sarah Armstrong-Park (Chch), 5.23, 2, Lucy Te Moananui (Kaik), 4.57, 3, Margurite Vujcich (Hbay), 0, 4
Under 18 Girls Division Final
Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 12.7, 1, Kea Smith (Mnt), 9.27, 2, Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 7.03, 3, Billie Scott (Whangarei), 5.1, 4
Under 16 Girls Division Final
Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 14.8, 1, Kea Smith (Arataki), 12.1, 2, Zhana Hutchison (Tara), 6.23, 3, Tiana – Breeze de Mooj (Mnt), 4.97, 4
Over 28 Men’s Division Final
Felix Dickson (Dun), 15.6, 1, Daniel Kereopa (Rag), 14.9, 2, Josh Thickpenny (Dun), 14.8, 3, Luke Hughes (Rag), 11.8, 4
Over 35 Men’s Division Final
Jarred Hancox (Tara), 13, 1, Daniel Kereopa (Rag), 12.4, 2, Nick Black (Chch), 12.3, 3, Craig Higgins (Dun), 6.3, 4
Over 40 Men’s Division Final
Mike Christensen (Chch), 12, 1, Ben Kennings (WGM), 9.27, 2, Justin Summerton (Chch), 7.23, 3, Lyndon Fairburn (Dun), 5.8, 4
Over 45 Men’s Division Final
Morgan Cronin (Auck), 13.8, 1, Andrew Christensen (Chch), 11.7, 2, Richard Baxter (Kaik), 11.5, 3, Patrick Bonner (Chch), 7.1, 4
Over 50 Men’s Division Final
Neill Robb (Chch), 9.07, 1, Phillip Griffin (Mnt), 8.33, 2, John Rousey (Chch), 7.63, 3, Mark Stevenson (Dun), 6.43, 4
Over 55 Men’s Division Final
Ken Nicholson (Auck), 8.23, 1, Peter De Mooij (Mnt), 6.07, 2, Michael Gray (Auck), 5.13, 3, Kevin Shaw (ChCh), 1.5, 4
Over 60 Men’s Division Final
Michael Gray (Auck), 8.43, 1, Clive Barron (Piha), 3.9, 2, Ken Nicholson (Auck), 1.07, 3
Men’s Longboard Division
Zen Wallis (Piha), 14.9, 1, Daniel Kereopa (Rag), 13.4, 2, Jordan Griffin (Mnt), 11.7, 3, Nick Black (Chch), 10.2, 4
Under 18 Bys Longboard Division
Sam Sands (Chch), 7.9, 1, Henry Hawke (Chch), 7.6, 2, Neko Tohiariki (Chch), 5.7, 3, Cairo Griffin (Dun), 3.93, 4
Women’s Longboard Division
Alexis Poulter (Waihi Beach), 11.27, 1, Estella Hungerford (Chch), 7.43, 2, Renee Davenport (Rag), 6.53, 3, Margurite Vujcich (Hbay), 5.57, 4
Men’s Stand Up Paddleboard Division
Shayne Baxter (Chch), 14.2, 1, Daniel Kereopa (Rag), 11.5, 2, Shane Murrell (Auck), 8.53, 3, Shaan Miller (Auck), 3.43, 4
Women’s Stand Up Paddleboard Division
Alexis Poulter (Waihi Beach), 7.27, 1, Renee Davenport (Rag), 5.9, 2, Lucy Te Moananui (Kaik), 1, 3, Annabel Anderson (Qtown), N/S, n/s
Kelvin Weir (Tara), 13.17, 1, Malcolm Diack (Dun), 9.93, 2, Greg Bell (Dun), 6.63, 3, Murray Weir (Tara), 5.9, 4
For further information on the 2016 Billabong National Championships presented by Health 2000 please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.