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Capitalising on a Clean Manu Bay Swell at the King and Queen of the Point

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Wintery conditions prevailed on day one of the Backdoor King and Queen of the Point presented by Quiksilver today but the waves delivered with a perfect 1.0m swell on offer for New Zealand best surfers.

The King and Queen of the Point is the final event of the 2023 NZ Surf Series with champions in the Open Men and Women set to be determined as well as two event winners to be crowned.

Today’s perfect waves were fanned by light offshore winds with better-than-expected conditions that the surfers in the Open Women’s Division capitalised on, led by local surfers Brie Bennett and Ava Henderson.

Bennett surfed to a 13.73 point heat total on her forehand, bouncing back into form at her favourite wave.

“I haven’t made a heat all year so thank god I made that one, it feels good to make a heat and I want to make it through to the final and put on a good performance” said Bennett after exiting her quarterfinal match up.

“The waves were fun out there and I was happy to get the win over the younger girls as well” she added of the young field of surfers, herself only 19 years of age.

Bennett advanced alongside Liv Haysom (Piha), another surfer that has spent several years based at Raglan attending the Raglan Surf Academy and now University of Waikato.

Ava Henderson top scored in the quarterfinals of the Women’s Division with a 15.54 point heat total.  Henderson comes into the event having won the most recent NZ Surf Series event held at Raglan – the Rip Curl Pro.

“I’m feeling comfy, frothing to be here, living here has been great, good to be surrounded by family and friends and the waves are fun” Henderson said after moving through to the semifinals with Leia Millar (Piha).

Coromandel surfers Chloe Groube (Pau) and Pia Rogers (WGM) were the other two surfers to win their heats today.  Groube got a last-minute win with a 7.03 on her final wave.

“I was so scared on that wave telling myself not to fall off the whole time, but I got some good turns and the wave felt good” she said of her performance.

Rogers is fresh back from the ISA World Surfing Games in El Salvador where she competed as part of the New Zealand Team.  Despite the distinct change in temperature, she was happy to be out at Manu Bay competing in good waves.

“It was good to win that one, the waves are fun, different to El Salvador obviously, but fun” said Rogers who is part of the young guard at this event.  “It is nerve wracking because all the young surfers are all pushing each other and making these events a challenge.

Late in the day the second round of the Open Men’s Division commenced with the first few heats completed.  Taylor Hutchison (Rag) used his local knowledge to sit off the peak down the point and surf his way to a comfortable win with Kora Cooper (Rag) finishing in second.

Young Mount Maunganui surfer Joe Goodjohn surfed his way into the quarterfinals.  The 16-year-old had an impressive performance to advance alongside fellow ‘Mountie’ Callum Chuter.

The event will resume early on Sunday morning with the location of the evet to be confirmed on day break.  If there is enough residual swell remaining, the event will be staged at Manu Bay with options of the beach and Ruapuke also on the cards should the waves not be contestable on the points.

The MR Twin Fin Expression Session returns to the event tomorrow, a tribute to the man who revolutionised the surfing world. Between 1978 and 1982 Australian Mark Richards decided two fins were better than one designing testing and taking his two-fin design to the world stage where he then claimed four consecutive World Titles, changing the surfing world for ever.

2023 has seen four events held across the motu including the National Surfing Championships at Piha in early January, the Rip Curl Pro Raglan SNZ 3000,              Te Kaika South Island Champs SNZ 2000,  and most recently the Exit Surf Men’s Canterbury Champs SNZ2000. The Backdoor King and Queen of the Point pres by Quiksilver is the final comp of the 2023 season.

The Backdoor King and Queen of the Point pres by Quiksilver is an SNZ3000 event and boasts $8,000 in prize money as one of the richest events of the year and with maximum national ranking points on offer.

Please see Live Heats for all results from the first day of surfing at the Backdoor King and Queen of the Point presented by Quiksilver held at Manu Bay, Raglan.

For more information on the Backdoor King and Queen of the Point presented by Quiksilver, please contact Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

Generous support from Backdoor Surf Shop, Quiksilver, Channel Island Surfboards and Sticky Johnson have made the event possible.  The event is hosted by Raglan’s Point Boardriders.

High resolution images will be available to media upon request. Images will be distributed free of charge.

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