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Bumper Participation for Return of Ray White Duke Festival of Surfing

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A colossal three days of surfing lies ahead for the conclusion of the Ray White Duke Festival of surfing being held in Christchurch this weekend (16 – 18 March).

The surfing festival has attracted over 250 entries for the second year running with the surfing side of the New Brighton event set to kick off this Friday.

The festival includes longboarding and stand up paddleboarding disciplines as well as junior divisions from Under 20 through to Under 12.  The surfing events conclude a week-long celebration of surfing related art, movies, workshops and music.

The premier longboard disciplines will see the likes of New Zealand representatives Zen Wallis (Piha) and Hugh Ritchie (Chch) line up alongside a plethora of top South Island talent in the Paper Plus Men’s Division as well as the Captain Fin Co Logger Division.

Wallis won the National Championships in January before heading to China For the ISA World Longboarding Championships where he placed 16th as the highest placed Kiwi surfer.  Wallis is also the defending champion at the Duke Festival.

The longboard divisions cater for several age divisions from Over 40s through to Over 60s with defending champions Grant Cochrane (Chch), Mike Pimm (Chch) and Paul Bennett (Chch) all returning to defend their respective titles.

The Peyroux family of Dunedin will head north for the event along with a strong contingent of surfers from South Coast Boardriders.  Steev Peyroux won the stand up paddleboard division in 2017 while his son placed fourth in the Under 17 Boys Division.  Youngest sister Misha also competes and will this year aim for a good result in the Under 14 Girls Division.

With a little over two months before the New Zealand Junior Surfing Team is announced, the junior divisions have attracted strong fields.  Winner of the past two national events, Caleb Cutmore (Ham), heads south for the event to attempt a hat-trick of wins in the Under 18 Boys Division this weekend.

For the girls, it will be current number two ranked surfer Aimee Brown (GB) that will take on Christchurch surfers Tegen Bishop and Estella Hungerford along with youngsters Brie Bennett (Rag) and Georgia Wederell (Mnt).

Wederell will attempt to defend her title in the Under 20 Girls Division as will Myka Black in the Under 20 Boys Division, Black in search of besting the two titles he achieved in 2017.

The Under 14 and 12 Divisions will see a raft of new talent take to the water, many competing for the first time at a national event.

The Ray White Duke Festival of Surfing features over $15,000 in prizes making it one of the richest events on the New Zealand and South Island Surfing Circuits in 2018.

The event is co-sanctioned by Surfing New Zealand and the South Island Surfing Association meaning valuable national and regional ranking points being on offer across all divisions.

For more information on the Ray White Duke Festival of Surfing please contact Warren Hawke on 021 293 5735 or wajhawke@yahoo.com or Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

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