National surfing champs wide open

OVER AND OUT: Six-time open men’s champion Billy Stairmand, (this picture), four-time champion Maz Quinn, (next picture), and multiple age-group champion Bobby Hansen, (third picture), were among those eliminated from the open men’s division of the national surfing championships at Makorori Beach yesterday. The competition, which attracted over 300 entries spread across 29 divisions, will end with finals day on Saturday. Pictures by Paul Rickard
Maz Quinn
Bobby Hansen

A DAY of upsets at the national surfing championships has blown the open men’s contest wide apart.

Gisborne/Mahia surfer Ricardo Christie is the only open men’s titleholder left in the division.

Six-time winner Billy Stairmand, 2017 runner-up Taylor Hutchison (both of Raglan), and local favourites four-time winner Maz Quinn and Bobby Hansen were among those eliminated in the quarterfinals at Makorori Beach on Day 3 of the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships.

Gisborne surfer Johnny Hicks made the semifinals, second to Christie in the so-called “heat of death” that claimed Hansen and Hutchison.

In the open women’s division, Albany’s Gabriella Sansom was the only titleholder to make the final four.

Gisborne’s Saffi Vette has made the open women’s final, and she and another local surfer, Stella Smith, were still in the under-18 women’s division after yesterday’s heats.

Conditions varied throughout the day at Makorori, with a clean one-metre swell and light winds giving way to moderate sea breezes by lunchtime. That ruffled surface conditions and affected the quality of the waves.

Elimination of Stairmand and Quinn

Christie said the elimination of Stairmand and Quinn opened up the contest.

It showed two good wave scores were needed to progress.

“There are still seven other guys in the event that can easily do that,” he said.

Christie felt he did not surf at his best yesterday, in part due to the conditions, but he was comfortable heading into the second half of the week and was looking to surf as much as possible in between his competition heats to find form.

Piha’s Elliot Paerata-Reid and Mt Maunganui’s Nick White progressed ahead of Quinn in their heat, and New Zealand representative Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata) and Levi Stewart (Waihi Beach) claimed the scalp of Stairmand in the heat before.

“It was awesome surfing with Levi in that heat,” Moretti said.

“We have competed all through the junior ranks and it was awesome to get the opportunity to make it through to the semifinals together.”

The fourth winner of the quarterfinals was Dunedin surfer Elliott Brown, who posted 14.27 to win his heat and advance alongside Piha’s Zen Wallis.

“I am stoked to make it this far really” said the 17-year-old, who won the 2017 award for Most Outstanding Performance.

“I would like to get similar results to last year, especially with the strong field of surfers that are here, with the likes of Ricardo and all the Gisborne surfers competing.”

A trio of fervent juniors advanced to the final of the open women’s division as they look to claim their first title. Gisborne’s Vette and Mt Maunganui surfers Elin Tawharu and Raiha Ensor go up against 2015 champion Sansom.

Ensor left her run late but an 8.9-point ride with two powerful backhand turns in the dying seconds of her heat pushed her well into the lead.

The swell was expected to remain around the one-metre mark today.

The longboard divisions and several junior divisions were to start today.

A DAY of upsets at the national surfing championships has blown the open men’s contest wide apart.

Gisborne/Mahia surfer Ricardo Christie is the only open men’s titleholder left in the division.

Six-time winner Billy Stairmand, 2017 runner-up Taylor Hutchison (both of Raglan), and local favourites four-time winner Maz Quinn and Bobby Hansen were among those eliminated in the quarterfinals at Makorori Beach on Day 3 of the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships.

Gisborne surfer Johnny Hicks made the semifinals, second to Christie in the so-called “heat of death” that claimed Hansen and Hutchison.

In the open women’s division, Albany’s Gabriella Sansom was the only titleholder to make the final four.

Gisborne’s Saffi Vette has made the open women’s final, and she and another local surfer, Stella Smith, were still in the under-18 women’s division after yesterday’s heats.

Conditions varied throughout the day at Makorori, with a clean one-metre swell and light winds giving way to moderate sea breezes by lunchtime. That ruffled surface conditions and affected the quality of the waves.

Elimination of Stairmand and Quinn

Christie said the elimination of Stairmand and Quinn opened up the contest.

It showed two good wave scores were needed to progress.

“There are still seven other guys in the event that can easily do that,” he said.

Christie felt he did not surf at his best yesterday, in part due to the conditions, but he was comfortable heading into the second half of the week and was looking to surf as much as possible in between his competition heats to find form.

Piha’s Elliot Paerata-Reid and Mt Maunganui’s Nick White progressed ahead of Quinn in their heat, and New Zealand representative Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata) and Levi Stewart (Waihi Beach) claimed the scalp of Stairmand in the heat before.

“It was awesome surfing with Levi in that heat,” Moretti said.

“We have competed all through the junior ranks and it was awesome to get the opportunity to make it through to the semifinals together.”

The fourth winner of the quarterfinals was Dunedin surfer Elliott Brown, who posted 14.27 to win his heat and advance alongside Piha’s Zen Wallis.

“I am stoked to make it this far really” said the 17-year-old, who won the 2017 award for Most Outstanding Performance.

“I would like to get similar results to last year, especially with the strong field of surfers that are here, with the likes of Ricardo and all the Gisborne surfers competing.”

A trio of fervent juniors advanced to the final of the open women’s division as they look to claim their first title. Gisborne’s Vette and Mt Maunganui surfers Elin Tawharu and Raiha Ensor go up against 2015 champion Sansom.

Ensor left her run late but an 8.9-point ride with two powerful backhand turns in the dying seconds of her heat pushed her well into the lead.

The swell was expected to remain around the one-metre mark today.

The longboard divisions and several junior divisions were to start today.

Results

RESULTS from the national surfing championships at Makorori Beach yesterday

Open men, quarterfinals, Heat 1: Elliott Brown (Dunedin) 14.27, 1; Zen Wallis (Piha) 11.57, 2; Jared Gebert (Ohope) 7.9, 3; Keone Campbell (Taranaki) 6.8, 4.

Heat 2: Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata) 11.07, 1; Levi Stewart (Waihi Beach) 10.63, 2; Billy Stairmand (Raglan) 10.4, 3; Damon Gunness (Gisborne) 6.68, 4.

Heat 3: Elliot Paerata Reid (Piha) 14.06, 1; Nick White (Mt Maunganui) 12.34, 2; Maz Quinn (Gis) 12.3, 3; Dylan Preston (Whangamata) 10.03, 4.

Heat 4: Ricardo Christie (Gis/Mahia) 12.2, 1; Johnny Hicks (Gis) 11.14, 2; Bobby Hansen (Gis) 10.9, 3; Taylor Hutchison (Rag) 9.7, 4.

Open women, semifinals, Heat 1: Gabriella Sansom (Auckland) 12.93, 1; Elin Tawharu (Mnt) 12.73, 2; Bianca Sansom (Auck) 5.13, 3; Abigail Daunton (Gis) 2.94, 4.

Heat 2: Raiha Ensor (Mnt) 14.6, 1; Saffi Vette (Gis) 6.74, 2; Tegen Bishop (Christchurch) 6.4, 3; Zhana Hutchieson (Tara) 6.03, 4.

Over-30 men, semifinals, Heat 1: Chris Malone (Rag) 12.8, 1; Jeremy Grainger (Tara) 9.33, 2; Alan Te Moananui (Kaikoura) 8.6, 3; Ryan Bridges (Gis) n/s.

Heat 2: Jarred Hancox (Tara), 13.2, 1; Larry Fisher (Rag), 12.3, 2; Damon Gunness (Gis) 9.37, 3; Jonas Te Aho (Gis) 8.3, 4.

Over-35 men, semifinals, Heat 1: Jarred Hancox (Tara) 15.2, 1; Chris Malone (Gis) 13.2, 2; Damon Gunness (Gis) 10.7, 3; Jamie Andrews (Tara) 9.34, 4.

Heat 2: Nick White (Mnt) 14.4, 1; Jeremy Grainger (Tara) 12.1, 2; Sean Hovell (Gis) 9.43, 3; Luke Jenssen (Hawke’s Bay) 8.2, 4.

Over-45 men, Round 1, Heat 1: Matt Groube (Pauanui) 13, 1; Geoff Hutchison (Rag) 12.1, 2; Phill Wallis (Piha) 5.7, 3; Gary McKenzie (Gis) n/s.

Heat 2: Scott Braithwaite (Whakatane) 10.7, 1; John Roussey (Chch) 6.07, 2; Trent Milton (Auck) 5.47, 3; Phill Willoughby (Rag) inj, 4.

Heat 3: Patrick Braithwaite (Gis) 15.1, 1; Andrew Mann (Auck) 13.3, 2; Luke Darby (Piha) 6.4, 3; Andrew McCulloch (Gis) 5, 4.

Under-18 girls, Round 1, Heat 1: Zhana Hutchieson (Tara) 13.3, 1; Stella Smith (Gis) 8.1, 2; Tegen Bishop (Chch) 5.66, 3; Hannah King (Gis) 3.14, 4.

Heat 2: Elin Tawharu (Mnt) 17, 1; Brie Bennett (Rag) 6.93, 2; Kea Smith (Arataki) 5.26, 3.

Heat 3: Georgia Wederell (Mnt) 8.53, 1; Estella Hungerford (Chch) 7.63, 2; Tiana-Breeze de Mooij (Mnt) 6.93, 3.

Heat 4: Saffi Vette (Gis) 10.77, 1; Aimee Brown (Auck) 7.17, 2; Ariana Shewry (Tara) 6.74, 3.

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