An explosive final day of the 2024 National Surfing Championships has seen Taranaki surfer Daniel Farr claim his second national title by the closest margin in the history of the event. Another young star has emerged in the Women’s Division with 15-year-old Maya Mateja stunning the field to win the Open Women’s Division.
The final day of the event was played out on a true ‘Dunner Stunner’ day with 30 degree plus temperatures and clean 1.0m waves bringing a big crowd to the beach to watch proceedings.
Farr posted a 16.50 point heat total to claim the title. The 24-year-old tied with Piha surfer Dune Kennings but won by way of having the highest single wave score of a 9.0 vs Kennings 8.5 point ride.
“Yeah that was an intense final. What a way to win it,” said Farr almost in disbelief at his win.
“When I got that 9.0 point ride, I was extremely stoked, I landed that last turn and I knew I needed to. It was a good score,” added Farr who held the lead at that point.
“I was happy with a nine but to see Dune come out with two 8.5 point rides and hearing that for the last seven or eight minutes of the final was nerve wracking. It just made me nervous and I was stressing out but it worked out in my favour by the end of the final,” he added.
Dune Kennings had to settle for second but not before the ocean dished up one last opportunity to defend his title with less than 30 seconds remaining. Kennings required an 8.51 for the victory but came up short with a 7.0 point ride with a series of turns on his forehand.
“Dune’s wave was a bomb, it looked like the best wave that came through the whole final and I couldn’t do anything about it and I just started clapping, I knew he could get the score. But in the end the scores went my way. Dune is an amazing surfer and I had to give it up for him,” said Farr of the final exchange and his recognition of Kennings wave with a premature congratulatory clap.
Farr’s title is his second, the first coming in 2022 at Westport. Farr becomes the eleventh surfers in the 61-year history of the event to claim more than one title.
“I said before I came down here talking to my mates and family ‘shall we go number two’ and it happened. It worked out in my favour, I got the right waves and god blessed me with the ability to surf well on them. To make it two is unreal,” said an emotional Farr.
Finishing in third today was eight-time champion Billy Stairmand (Rag) who could not find a rhythm with the ocean and Caleb Cutmore (Rag) finished in fourth place.
Maya Mateja stunned the field of surfers in the Open Women’s Division to claim the title, the third youngest surfer to do so. Mateja finished with a 12.90 point heat total for the win.
“I prepared for this event to win but all the girls were ripping and I honestly didn’t know whether I was capable,” said the young surfer.
Mateja first got a sniff of the title when she posted a 7.10 point ride to get close to Christchurch surfer Estella Hungerford who got off to an early start with a 6.9 point ride.
“I thought that was a good score and maybe I can do it,” she said. Then Mateja added a 5.80-point ride to jump Hungerford for first.
“I started to get nervous then, but the ocean went quiet. I could hear my friends screaming from the shore. I am so happy that I am at this level,” said the Raglan surfer who was at the event with her brother and friends. “The first thing I did was talk to Dad back at Raglan, he was so happy and I also got a long message from mum in Mexico but my phone went flat and I didn’t get a chance to read the whole message.”
Hungerford finished the final in second place, her career best result. 13-year-old Alani Morse (Rag) finished in third place with Brie Bennett (Rag) in fourth place.
Earlier in the day Kennings and Cutmore eliminated Elliot Paerata – Reid (Piha) and Dunedin’s final hope – Reuben Peyroux. In the second semifinal Stairmand and Farr eliminated Taylor Hutchison (Rag) and Spencer Rowson (Tara).
In the Women’s Division Morse and Bennett defeated Saffi Vette (Gis) and Jaya Reardon (Dun) in the first semifinal and Mateja and Hungerford defeated the Piha duo Leia Millar and Liv Haysom.
The boardrider club title went to Raglan’s Point Boardriders.
The Volkswagen Highest Single Wave Score of the Day went to Open Men’s Division winner Daniel Farr for his 9.0 point ride in the final of the event.
Over 350 entries have been received for the event which takes place from today (Sunday 7th January) and runs through until Saturday 13th January. It is the ninth time the event has been staged at Dunedin, dating back to 1978.
A total of 26 divisions are contested at the event including the premier Open Men and Women plus additional divisions comprising of age groups from Under 14 boys and girls through to Over 70s for males and females and Longboard, Stand Up Paddleboard, Bodyboard, Kneeboard and adaptive disciplines.
The event would not be possible without the support of the following partners: Sport NZ, Volkswagen and Sun Bum. The 2024 National Surfing Championships is proudly hosted by South Coast Boardriders and South Island Surfing Association.
The 2024 National Surfing Championships commences both the domestic NZ Surf Series, NZ Grom Series and NZ Longboard Series with fifteen events scheduled around the country this summer.
For further information on the 2024 National Surfing Championships please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email email@example.com.
High resolution action images of the surfing will be available to media free of charge upon request.
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