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Excellent start to the ISA World Surfing Games for New Zealand

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Date: 1st June 2023
From: Surfing New Zealand
Sport: International Surfing
Event: 2023 ISA World Surfing Games
Divisions: Open Men, Open Women
Date: May 30 to June 7
Location: Surf City, El Salvador
Websites: www.isasurf.org and www.surfingnz.co.nz

Excellent start to the ISA World Surfing Games for New Zealand

The New Zealand Surfing Team had an excellent start to their World Surfing Games campaign early on day one of the event with Billy Stairmand (Rag) and Dune Kennings (Piha) winning their first round matchups. In the women’s division Pia Rogers (WGM) placed second to WSL superstar Pauline Ado(Fra) whilst Saffi Vette (Gis)  was only narrowly relegated to the repechage rounds after her first foray into the water.

After a long day participating in the opening ceremony, four of the six Kiwis compete on day one with Paige Hareb (Tara) and Kehu Butler (Mount) having a lay day.

In small but classic waves, Dune and Billy eventually found waves with good scoring potential finishing first place in their matchups.

Raglans Billy Stairmand was up early in Round 1 Surfing in Heat 2. A slow heat in the calm early morning conditions, all surfers struggled to find waves with scoring potential. Stairmand however eventually hunted down a solid score of 5.33 but requiring a backup and with the clock slowly winding down it was still anyone’s game, Stairmand having found the wave to start his heat got into a rhythm and backed up his 5.33 with a 5.83 soon after running away with the heat with a comfortable lead over his Israeli, Uruguan and Afghan opponents.

“Yea my heat went pretty well” said Stairmand post heat. “I didn’t have too many scores in the first 10 minutes of my heat, but I knew if I got a decent score I would find some rhythm, and I did that. So stoked to tick the first one off the list”.

Looking forward to his Round 2 match up Stairmand said “I am looking forward to surfing my next heat. I’m loving the little lefts of our bank, so I plan to stay on that area throughout the event. Looks like there is more waves on the horizon after tomorrow also”.

“Overall, I’m really enjoying my time over here with the team. The spirit is high and we all are having an amazing time. Feeling calm and confident. The opening ceremony was a cool vibe as well”.

Piha’s Dune Kennings found himself in a good position a few heats later when he started the heat with a 4.83. It was a busy heat with most surfers getting over 5 waves. It was Kennings however who made his waves count scoring a 2.73 and a 1 before getting his next solid backup and heat winning wave a 4.90. with momentum building and the heat coming to an end he walked away with the win. Uruguayan Sebastian Olarte came in 2nd needing 6 points for first and Yoni Kelin of Israel placed 3rd with a 5.03 heat total, Hussain Alzaki (KSA) placed 4th.

“Stoked to get the first heat win today, felt good to get into it and get the ball rolling, I felt like I had plenty more to give so it’s a confidence booster and I’m looking forward to the next one”. On his Round 2 matchup Kennings said, “the game plan for the next one is to keep improving scores each heat, push the turns harder and if it comes down to it bust out some airs”.

In the women’s division Saffi Vette started the day in Heat 4 against Teresa Bonvalot of Portugal, and Valeria Ojeda of Venuzela. Gisborne’s Saffi Vette gave herself a chance to progress with a 3.9 on the board but unfortunately couldn’t find a backup ending the heat in 3rd place whilst Teresa Bonvalot of Portugal took the top spot. Saffi will now head to Repechage Round 1 Heat 2 where she will surf against Minami Cramer GUM and Tiziana Prem GUA.

Pia Rogers of Whangamata was the final team member to surf today up in Women’s Round 1 Heat 17. Surfing against WSL superstar Pauline Ado of France and Rosanny Alvarez of Venuezela Pia held her own keeping busy throughout the heat. She finished the heat with a total wave count of 7 waves with a 4.5 and a 4.07 keeping her in second place over Alvarez. Pauline Ado used her experience to control the heat winning with a total heat score of 11.77.

On her first round match up Rogers said, “super-stoked to make my first heat and build a little confidence. It was super cool surfing against Pauline Ado, just being able to see how much experience she has was sick. Today was tricky but super amazing being able to surf in a heat at that level, I learnt heaps.”

Day two of the event will see Kehu Butler surf in heat 46 of Mens Round 1 at La Bocana. Meanwhile over at El Sunzal Paige Hareb will surf in Heat 36 in Womens Round 1, that afternoon Billy Stairmand will surf in Heat 2 and Dune Kennings in Heat 4 of Mens Round 2.

La Bocana

Men Round 1 Heats #25 to 48

– Heat 46 Kehu Butler

El Sunzal 

Women Round 1 Heats #25 to 36

– Heat 36 Paige Hareb

Men Round 2 Heats #1 to 12

– Heat 2 – Billy Stairmand

– Heat 4 – Dune Kennings

The International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games are held at Surf City, El Salvador from May 30 to June 7. Five new nations will be represented for the very first time, bringing the total nations to a new record of 64 with over 297 athletes competing.

The Czech Republic, India, Latvia, Mauritius, and Trinidad and Tobago will also compete at their first World Surfing Games.

Current Team World Champions, Team USA, also return to the event to defend their title with a team that includes Olympic gold medalist Carissa Moore and two-time WSL Champion John John Florence.

Please see results for the Kiwi surfers on day one plus pending heats at the 2023 ISA World Surfing Games held at Surf City, El Salvador from May 30 to June 7

Women’s Division Round 1

Women – Round 1 – Heat 4

1 Teresa Bonvalot 9.97 POR, 2 Valeria Ojeda 8.40 VEN, 3 Saffi Vette 5.00 NZL

Women – Round 1 – Heat 17

1 Pauline Ado 11.77 FRA, 2 Pia Rogers 8.57 NZL,3 Rosanny Alvarez 6.53 VEN
Men’s Division Round 1

Men – Round 1 – Heat 2

1 Billy Stairmand 11.16 NZL, 2 Ido Arkin 8.30 ISR, 3 Marco Giorgi 7.60 URU, 4 Afridun Amu1.64 AFG

Men – Round 1 – Heat 6

1 Dune Kennings 9.73 NZL, 2 Sebastian Olarte 7.46 URU, 3 Yoni Klein 5.03 ISR, 4 Hussain Alzaki 1.14 KSA,

Day 2 Schedule (Thursday 1st)

La Bocana
Men Round 1 Heats #25 to 48
– Heat 46 Kehu Butler

El Sunzal
Women Round 1 Heats #25 to 36
– Heat 36 Paige Hareb

Men Round 2 Heats #1 to 12

  • Heat 2 – Billy Stairmand
  • Heat 4 – Dune Kennings

Further heats for all surfers subject to progression.

The event is being webcast live. El Salvador is 18 hours behind New Zealand.
Action will take place at from approximately 8:00am each morning of the event.

Olympic Qualification

The ISA World Surfing Games is an important event for many teams hoping to get into the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.” In a significant innovation to the Olympic Surfing Qualification System, the winning men’s and women’s National Teams at these World Surfing Games will be allocated one Olympic slot each for their respective country/National Olympic Committee (NOC).

This qualification slot will be in addition to the maximum quota of 2 athletes per country for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.  Fierce competition is expected for this potential third slot for the top teams.”

The most recent World Surf Games event was held in Huntington Beach, USA where a six-strong team of Kiwis attended and placed 19th in the world. New Zealand has been attending the ISA World Surfing Games since the 60s and continues to do so this year with the team travelling to El Salvador for one of the most important events of the year.

View the full Olympic qualification system.

The 2023 New Zealand Surfing Team is as follows:


Billy Stairmand (Rag)

Kehu Butler (Mnt)

Dune Kennings (Piha)


Paige Hareb (Tara)

Pia Rogers (WGM)

Saffi Vette (Gis)

Team Coach: Matt Scorringe

Team Manager: Michelle Rellis

About International Surfing Association (ISA)

The International Surfing Association (ISA) is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the World Governing Authority for surfing, bodyboarding, SUP and surfriding.  It was originally founded as the International Surfing Federation in 1964 and has been running world championships since 1964, and the Junior World Championships since 1980.

The Live Stream can be found Here https://isasurf.org/event/2023-surf-city-el-salvador-isa-world-surfing-games/

The event is being broadcast live over the net via www.isasurf.org. Media releases relating specifically to the New Zealand team’s performance will be distributed throughout the event.

For further information regarding the New Zealand Surfing Team please contact Ben Kennings at Surfing New Zealand 0212278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

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