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Bay of Plenty Steamroll Opponents at Gisborne

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The Bay of Plenty Junior Surfing Team has steamrolled their opponents at the 2023 National Scholastic Surfing Championships completed at Gisborne today (Friday 29th September) claiming their first victory in six years.

The Bay secured two titles on the final day with ten of the twelve team members featuring in the finals of their respective divisions.

Canterbury stormed into contention on the final day with three titles but could not make up the lost ground from during the week and had to settle for a runner up finish while defending champions Auckland finished in third with two titles.

The final day of the event was contested in 1.0m – 1.5m waves at Makorori Beach with strong side shore winds which impacted conditions early before they faded away to light onshores and good waves from mid-morning.

Bay of Plenty was led by their star performer and event stand out Tai Murphy who won the Under 18 Boys Division.

“We finished third last year and it feels way better to win this year with our team,” said a jubilant Murphy.

“It was a nerve wracking final surfing against Tyler [Perry], he got the lead a couple of times but I got the score in the end for the win.  We live together at Raglan and attend the Raglan Surf Academy, so we surf together all the time, it was good to have such a cool final with him,” added Perry.

Perry finished runner up in the event helping his Canterbury Team to second place while Taranaki surfer Spencer Rowson and Nate Florence finished in third and fourth respectively.

Ava Henderson had it all her way in the Under 18 Girls Division with a 16.40 point heat total for a comfortable win for Canterbury.

“I am flippin’ frothing right now, I am not going to lie, I have been feeling the love, everyone has been so supportive the whole week and there is nothing better than to come in from the final to a big wall of people who love and support me, it felt good,” said Henderson.

“We had a bit of a shocker on day 3 with a few eliminations but today has been great everyone stepped up for our podium finish, we knew we had to, and we did,” she added.

Pia Rogers (WGM) finished runner up in the final and secured Coromandel’s best result while it was the same for Asia Braithwaite and Gisborne, Asia finishing third ahead of Sophia Brock (BOP) in fourth.

Otago had their best team result in a number of years with a fourth place finish led by Alexis Owen winning the Under 16 Boys Division.  In one of the best finals of the day, Owen surfed to a 15.10 point heat total to edge past Bay of Plenty surfers Tava Santorik and Joe Goodjohn who finished in second and third respectively with Lewis Murphy (Otago) in fourth.

Owen is set to represent New Zealand at the World Junior Championships in Brazil at the end of November but between now and then, he suggests he will be spending more time studying and completing his exams than he will surfing in the build up to the event.

Leia Millar defended her title in the Under 16 Girls Division in fine fashion with a 12.73 heat total.

“My plan was to get an early start and build from there and I am glad that worked well for me,” said Millar.  “We had a good day with Poppy Arkle winning the Under 14 Girls Division and we had a lot of finalists so we are happy to make the podium this year,” added Millar.

Poppy Entwisle (Cant) finished runner up pushing Millar toward the end of the final but couldn’t find the 6.4 point ride for the win.  Coromandel surfers Chloe Groube and India Kennings finished in third and fourth respectively.

In the Under 14 Divisions, it was Vitor Bauermann (BOP) that claimed the boys title and Poppy Arkle (Auck) that won the girls division.

Jack Tyro opened the boys longboard final with a 9.5 point ride and backed that up with an 8.17 for a massive victory and Canterbury’s third of the day alongside team mate Lucy Macefield in the girls longboard.

The Adam Clegg Breakthrough Performance Awards went to Nate Florence (Tara) and Molly Mahina (Wai).

Team Points
1, Bay of Plenty (Tauranga Moana), 9465

2, Canterbury (Otautahi), 8083

3, Auckland (Tamaki Makaurau), 7863

4, Otago (Otepoti), 6828

5, Coromandel (Te Tara o te Ika a Maui), 6623

6, Waikato, 6040

7, Northland (Te Tai Tokerau), 6011

8, Taranaki, 5825

9, Gisborne (Te Tairawhiti), 5801

10, Hawkes Bay (Heretaunga), 4577

11, Wellington (Whanganui a Tara), 2908

The final day webcast can be viewed on Whakaata Maori YouTube channel.

The National Scholastic Surfing Championships has been held since 1989.  The event, which has unearthed two generations of top Kiwi talent, takes place along the Gisborne coastline from 25-29 September.

The event comprises eight age group divisions for males and females across both shortboard and longboard disciplines.  Twelve regional teams from throughout the country contest the event with eleven teams in attendance in 2023 vying for both individual titles as well as the overall team title. Auckland is the defending champion at the event having won in Taranaki in 2022.

128 surfers are participating at the event in 2023 after having qualified to represent their 12-person teams via a series of regional events held during winter months.

The 2023 National Scholastic Surfing Championships is sanctioned by Surfing New Zealand, Secondary School Sport NZ.  The event is made possible with the support of Pub Charity.  The event is supported by the New Zealand Sports Collective, Whakaata Maori, Caltex, Bayleys, Apollo Projects, Pure Athletic and NZ Carbon Farming.

For more information on the National Scholastic Surfing Championships, please contact Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz. Follow @surfingnz across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for all the action from the event.


High resolution images from the event will be available to media upon request.

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