Today (Saturday 14th January) saw Raglan’s Billy Stairmand smash a thirty year old record by securing his sixth title in the Open Men’s Division of the 2017 National Surfing Championships presented by Health 2000 and becoming the most winningest surfer in New Zealand history.
Stairmand was joined by Whangmata’s Ella Williams on the winners dias, Williams also defending her Open Women’s Division title.
The final day of the event was held in big 2.0m swell at Piha Beach with light winds offering the best conditions the event experienced all week.
Stairmand surfed to a 14.63 point heat total in the final which he started out with a near perfect 9.53 point ride for two huge turns on one of the biggest waves of the final.
Stairmand proceeded to do a lap around the beach and back out the keyhole before finding a second scoring ride which was enough to edge him ahead of fellow Raglan surfer Taylor Hutchison.
Hutchison had worked his way up in to the lead with an 11.83 point heat total after two good waves through the inside section. However, Stairmand came back with a 5.1 point second scoring ride which was enough to get back in to the lead.
The thirty year old record was held by Iain Buchanan, who was in attendance to witness the final, and Wayne Parkes both of Auckland. Buchanan last won an open title in 1987 at Gisborne, his fifth straight, while Parkes also won five consecutive titles from ‘66 – ‘70.
Stairmand dedicated the win to his mother who passed away at the end of 2016.
“I had a rough time last year on several fronts so I am hoping that this win is a sign of things to come and I am sure my Mum was looking over me today when I got that first wave” said Stairmand who was spurred on by a strong contingent of Raglan supporters who came up for the day to support him. They also witnessed their Point Boardriders club take out the interclub championship as the top performing club at the National Championships.
Placing second in the final was Hutchison with an 11.83 point heat total. Elliot Brown (Dun) finished the final in third place over Elliot Paerata – Reid on a countback with Paerata – Reid finishing in fourth.
Ella Williams had a big battle in the final of the Open Women’s Division after Gabriella Sansom (Albany) surfed to a final-high single wave score of 7.83. The wave put Williams on the backfoot before she secured a pair of six point rides then went on to secure a 7.17 and then a 7.77 on her last wave to extend her lead and take a second national title in the division.
“I am so happy to defend the title this year, we have had some hard conditions throughout the week but the waves were good today and I enjoyed being pushed by all the Kiwi girls who continue to improve year after year” said Williams at the prize giving.
Gabriella Sansom finished the final in second place ahead of her twin sister Bianca in third and Britt Kindred (Mur) in fourth.
Performances in the junior divisions were dominated by the double title going to Saffi Vette (Gis) winning the Under 18 and Under 16 Girls Divisions. Vette almost had the opportunity to attempt the triple but fell short in the semifinals of the Open Women’s Division.
Meanwhile it was Jonas Tawharu (Mnt) that claimed the title in the Under 18 Boys Division with some powerful surfing in the big conditions.
Caleb Cutmore (Rag) claimed the Under 16 Boys Division title, another of the strong goofy foot surfers that relished the chance to surf Piha Bar. Cutmore posted a 15.73 point heat total to easily win the final.
The senior divisions spent much of the morning contesting their finals. Raglan’s Chris Malone secured two titles in the Over 28s and 35s Divisions.
Marc Moore (Auck) won his first ever national title in the Over 40s Division after a dominating performance.
Phil Willoughby (Rag) helped his club to the interclub title by winning the Over 45s Division and it was David Mann (Auck) that won the Over 50 Men’s Division.
Gisborne claimed their third title of the event in the Women’s SUP Division when Stella Smith secured a come-from-behind win. The girls battled some serious surf in their final with Lucy Te Moananui (Kaik) leading for much of the final. Smith finally found a wave that she could complete three good turns on and it was enough to flip the final.
By way of the win, Smith won selection for the New Zealand Team which will compete at the World Junior Championships in Denmark during September. She will join Trevor Tunnington (Aus) and Daniel Kereopa (Rag) as the surfers in the New Zealand team after they placed first and second earlier in the event.
Two prestigious awards were handed out outside of the national titles and they both went to Dunedin surfer Elliot Brown. Brown was awarded with the Overall Performance of the Event and the newly awarded President’s Scholarship which will see Brown spend 10 days in Fiji experiencing the reef breaks around Tavarua and Namotu.
Set out below are the final results from the 2017 National Surfing Championships presented by Health 2000 completed at Piha Beach, Auckland today (Saturday 14th January).
Open Men’s Division Semifinals
Taylor Hutchison (Rag), 9.47, 1, Elliott Brown (Dun), 7.54, 2, Jonas Tawharu (Mnt), 7.47, 3, Matt-Lewis Hewitt (Mnt), 6.17, 4
Elliot Paerata Reid (Piha), 13.10, 1, Billy Stairmand (Rag) , 12.33, 2, Sean Peggs (Tairua), 11.67, 3, Manu Scott Arrieta (Sandy Bay), 2.37, 4
Open Men’s Division Final
Billy Stairmand (Rag), 14.63, 1, Taylor Hutchison (Rag), 11.83, 2, Elliott Brown (Dun), 8.17, 3, Elliot Paerata Reid (Piha), 8.17, 4
Open Women’s Division Semifinals
Ella Williams (Whmata), 7.73, 1, Bianca Sansom (Auck), 6.17, 2, Elin Tawahru (Mnt), 4.13, 3, Claudia Fraser (Piha), 4.03, 4
Gabriella Sansom (Auck), 12, 1, Britt Kindred (Mur), 6.5, 2, Saffi Vette (Gis), 6, 3, Estella Hungerfrd (Chch), 2.93, 4
Open Women’s Division Final
Ella Williams (Whmata), 14.9, 1, Gabriella Sansom (Auck), 11.3, 2, Bianca Sansom (Auck), 7.83, 3, Britt Kindred (Mur), 7.53, 4
Under 18 Boys Division Final
Jonas Tawharu (Mnt), 14.1, 1, Elliott Brown (Dun), 12.07, 2, Jared Gebert (Ohope), 11.47, 3, Kaya Horne (Mnt), 7.43, 4
Under 16 Boys Division Final
Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 15.73, 1, Dylan Preston (Whmata), 10.40, 2, William Van der Beek (Mnt), 9.43, 3, Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 8.17, 4
Under 18 Girls Division Final
Saffi Vette (Gis), 14.17, 1, Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 13.07, 2, Tiana – Breeze de Mooij (Mnt), 9.67, 3, Gabrielle Paul (Auck), 4.80, 4
Under 16 Girls Division Final
Saffi Vette (Gis), 8.67, 1, Gabrielle Paul (Auck), 7.97, 2, Tegen Bishop (Chch), 5.73, 3, Estella Hungerford (Chch), 1.53, 4
Over 28’s Division Final
Chris Malone (Rag), 14, 1, Jarred Hancox (Tara), 11.7, 2, Jeremy Grainger (Tara), 10.2, 3, Al Te Moananui (Kai), 9.07, 4
Over 35’s Division Final
Chris Malone (Rag), 16.67, 1, Jarred Hancox (Tara), 11.27, 2, Chris Fougere (Piha), 8.03, 3, Marc Moore (Auck), 5.33, 4
Over 40’s Division Final
Marc Moore (Auck), 13.5, 1, Mike Mulcahy (Piha), 7.53, 2, Deane Hishon (Rag) , 6.27, 3, Ben Kennings (WGM), 5.57, 4
Over 45 Men’s Division Final
Phill Willoughby (Rag), 9.87, 1, Phil Wallis (Piha), 7.7, 2, Tui Eves (Auck), 4.7, 3, Deane Hishon (Rag), 0.6, 4
Over 50’s Division Final
David Mann (Auck), 10.9, 1, Derek Brunker (Whangarei), 9.37, 2, Phil Wallis (Piha), 8.23, 3, Paul Halford (Mnt), 3.23, 4
Women’s SUP Final
Stella Smith (Gis), 9.3, 1, Lucy Te Moananui (Kaik), 6.33, 2, Penelope Strickland (Auck), 3.83, 3, Renee Davenport (Rag), 2.73, 4
The championships are being held from the 8th – 14th January bringing together New Zealand’s supreme domestic talent to compete over seven days of action.
Over 250 entries have been received for the event. Additional divisions comprise of age groups from Under 14 boys and girls through to Over 60s and also Longboard, Stand Up Paddleboard and Kneeboard disciplines.
Added incentive in the Open Men’s and Women’s Divisions will come in the form of the New Zealand Surfing Team being announced before the end of January. The team travels to France in May to compete at the ISA World Surfing Games.
The National Championships also act as the sole selection event for the SUP Surfing disciplines within the New Zealand Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Team. The team will compete in Denmark during September.