Challenging Conditions No Problem For Top Seeds at New Zealand National Surfing Championships

Posted - News Posted for New Zealand News, World Surfing News.

More challenging conditions dished up by Auckland’s Piha Beach were no problem for the top seeds competing on day two of the 2017 National Surfing Championships pres by Health 2000 completed today (Monday 9th January).

The Open Men’s and Women’s Divisions were contested early on day two with conditions remaining above 1.5m with persistent westerly onshore winds making conditions fickle.

Event number one seed, Matt Hewitt (Mnt) made simple work of his Open Men’s Division match up advancing through to the Quarterfinals.

2017 New Zealand National Surfing Champs presented by Health 200Matt Hewitt. Image courtesy of Cory / NZ Surfing Magazine

Hewitt posted two early scores to amass a 13.43 point heat total out of a possible 20 points and advance through his heat alongside Taranaki surfer Jarred Hancox. Hewitt is hoping to find the form that saw him win a national title at Piha in 2009.

“It is good to get the first heat under the belt” said Hewitt before commenting on the conditions.

“Stock standard Piha conditions today, onshore, big and breaking way out to sea but it is good to get a couple of waves, I got good ones at the start of the heat and that put me in a good position to win” he added.

Hewitt is well aware that to win at Piha he must be prepared for all conditions and that is something he is looking toward at the end of the week. “Out here you have to expect anything in terms of conditions and if it picks up and cleans up, it will be good” he said of the huge swell forecast for the end of the week.

Despite being unaware of the forecast for later in the week, local surfer Elliot Paerata – Reid is one surfer that, should the surf get big, will be one to watch.

“If it is going to get big, then good, I don’t mind either way, conditions like today are fine too” said Paerata – Reid who posted the day’s highest heat score – 15.6 out of 20.

“I surf out here in exactly these conditions heaps of times. You kinda have a good gauge on where the waves are breaking and get lucky with the peelers.”

Hot favourite for a record sixth title, Billy Stairmand (Rag) was close behind Stairmand with a 15.43 point heat total and easy heat win to advance to within three heats of the record.

“I am looking forward to the week ahead. It is good to be back in the water and putting the rashie on” said a relaxed Stairmand.

“The waves are not too bad, there is a bank out the back, big lefties. I feel like I am surfing good so I am looking forward to it” he added in reference to his pending match ups.

2017 New Zealand National Surfing Champs presented by Health 200Billy Stairmand. Image courtesy of Cory / NZ Surfing Magazine

Other surfers to win their Open Men’s Division heats included New Zealand representatives Taylor Hutchison (Rag) and Zen Wallis (Piha), Day 1 standout Elliot Brown (Dun), JC Susan (Dun) and Jonas Tawharu (Mnt).

The Open Women’s Division kicked off the day and number one seed and defending champion Ella Williams (WGM) was steady in her performance to advance through to the semifinals.

“It was quite challenging out there, there are waves but it is hard to get the right one and then make the most of it at the same time” said Williams.

“But I get to live another day so I am happy” Added Williams who has relished some time at home in Whangamata before heading back overseas at the end of the month to compete in international events.

Williams was joined by Round One standout Elin Tawharu (Mnt) who posted a 13.0 point heat total to advance.

Other heat winners included Britt Kindred (Mur) and young Gisborne surfer Saffi Vette who turned heads with her strong performance not only in the Women’s Division but also in the Under 18 Girls Division where she advanced to the semifinals as well.

Vette was joined by Elin Tawharu (Mnt) and Tegen Bishop as heat winners advancing on in the Under 18 Girls Division.

Late in the day the Under 16 Boys Division was thinned down to eight competitors. Hamilton surfer Caleb Cutmore was the star show turning on a 16.7 point heat total to win through to the semifinals. He was joined by Dylan Preston (Mnt), Luke Griffin (Mnt) and Tom Butland (Tara) as winners.

The first final of the event was contested with Auckland surfer Craig McDonald winning the Kneeboard Final. McDonald posted a 9.03 point heat total claiming the title 40 years after his first, coincidentally also won at Piha. McDonald defeated the Taranaki trio of defending champion Kelvin Weir (Tara), father Murray Weir and Maukino Skelton.

The swell is expected to decrease leading in to day three of the event on Tuesday. Surface conditions are expected to remain the same and a full day of surfing expected to take place with the introduction of the senior divisions.

Set out below are the results from day two of the 2017 National Surfing Championships presented by Health 2000 held at Piha Beach, Auckland today (Monday 9th January).

Open Men’s Division Round 2
Heat 1
Taylor Hutchison (Rag), 10.53, 1, Jared Gebert (Ohope), 8.23, 2, Jeremy Grainger (Tara), 7.30, 3, Lee Ririnui (Mnt), 7.27, 4
Heat 2
Jonas Tawharu (Mnt), 9.50, 1, Harrison Whiteside (ChCh), 8.80, 2, Hugh Ritchie (ChCh), 8.37, 3, Dixon-Smith, Tom, 6.60, 4
Heat 3
Elliott Brown (Dun), 13.07, 1, Ben Kennings (Whmata), 10.1, 2, Chris Malone (Gis), 6.63, 3, Andrew Archibald (Rag), 3.87, 4
Heat 4
Matt-Lewis Hewitt (Mnt), 13.43, 1, Jarred Hancox (Tara), 9.53, 2, Marc Moore (Rag), 9.03, 3, Keone Campbell, 7.27, 4
Heat 5
JC Susan (Dun), 12.53, 1, Dune Kennings (Whmata), 9.67, 2, Henry Hawke (Chch), 7.17, 3, Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch), 5.93, 4
Heat 6
Elliot Paerata Reid (Piha), 15.6, 1, Sean Peggs (Tairua), 11.27, 2, Sam Sands (Chch), 6.4, 3, Zane Hicks (Ocean Beach), 4.67, 4
Heat 7
Billy Stairmand (Rag), 15.43, 1, Tane Wallis (Piha), 11.50, 2, Callum Chuter (Mnt), 9.67, 3, Taylor, Joshua, 6.43, 4
Heat 8
Zen Wallis (Piha), 9.87, 1, Manu Scott Arrieta (Sandy Bay), 8.50, 2, Connor McLennan (Chch), 7.77, 3, Joel Clegg (Tara), 7.73, 4

Open Women’s Division Round of 18
Heat 1
Tegen Bishop (Chch), 10.2, 1, Estella Hungerfrd (Chch), 5.1, 2, Aimee Brown (Auck), 3.87, 3

Open Women’s Division Quarterfinals
Heat 1
Elin Tawahru (Mnt), 12.9, 1, Gabriella Sansom (Auck), 8.73, 2, Gabrielle Paul (Piha), 3.23, 3, Billie Scott (Whangarei), 2.7, 4
Heat 2
Ella Williams (Whmata), 10.3, 1, Estella Hungerfrd (Chch), 5.9, 2, Georgia Wederell (Chch), 5.8, 3, Tiana-Breeze de Mooij (Mnt), 5.27, 4
Heat 3
Britt Kindred (Mur), 8.43, 1, Claudia Fraser (Piha), 7.33, 2, Tegen Bishop (Chch), 5.11, 3, Marguerite Vujich (Napier), 1.93, 4
Heat 4
Saffi Vette (Gis), 9.17, 1, Bianca Sansom (Auck), 8.73, 2, Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 7.37, 3, Kea Smith (Mnt), 6.17, 4

Under 18 Girls Division Quarterfinals
Heat 1
Saffi Vette (Gis), 10.5, 1, Gabrielle Paul (Auck), 8.3, 2, Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 7.6, 3, Aimee Brown (Auck), 6.8, 4
Heat 2
Tegen Bishop (Chch), 5.97, 1, Tiana – Breeze de Mooij (Mnt), 4.13, 2, Stella Smith (Gis), 3.23, 3, Estella Hungerford (Chch), 2.5, 4
Heat 3
Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 6.07, 1, Billie Scott (Whangarei), 4.43, 2, Kea Smith (Arataki), 3.27, 3, Georgia Wederell (Mnt), 1.07, 4

Under 16 Boys Quarterfinals
Heat 1
Dylan Preston (Whmata), 9.77, 1, Kora Cooper (Rag), 7.27, 2, Finn Vette (Gis), 7.27, 3, Myka Black (Chch), 5.17, 4
Heat 2
Tom Butland (Tara), 8.93, 1, William Van der Beek (Mnt), 8.1, 2, Taylor O’Leary (Mur), 6.3, 3, Thomas Carter (Waihi Bch), 4.83, 4
Heat 3
Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 16.67, 1, Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 7.63, 2, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 6.93, 3, Alex O’Dwyer (Whaka), 3.8, 4
Heat 4
Luke Griffin (Mnt), 9.67, 1, Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 8.6, 2, Jack Lee (Whaka), 7.73, 3, Max Brunker (Whngrei), 6.57, 4

Kneeboard Final
Craig McDonald (Auck), 9.03, 1, Murray Weir (Tara), 5.5, 2, Kelvin Weir (Tara), 4.33, 3, Maukino Skelton (Tara), 2.83, 4

Below is a schedule of events for the remaining six days of the event with surfing being held from 8am – 4pm daily.

Day 3 – Addition of men’s senior age group divisions
Day 4 – Addition of longboard divisions
Day 5 – All above divisions
Day 6 – Addition of SUP Divisions
Day 7 – All divisions plus SUP Race

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.