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Final Day Looms with Big Regional Battles Pending at Gisborne

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The points race to find the top junior surfing region in New Zealand is heating up heading into the final day of the event tomorrow (Friday 29 September) with perennial favourites Bay of Plenty holding a lead over Auckland.  The race for the final podium position will be hotly contested among several regions.

The penultimate day of the event held today (Thursday 28th September), saw perfect 1.0m – 1.5m waves at Makorori Beach north of Gisborne.  The offshore winds kept the waves pristine all day with the best junior surfers in New Zealand loving the chance to compete in perfect conditions.

Bay of Plenty hold a 387 point advantage over Auckland with the title race set to come down to how many championships each team can secure on the final day.  Can-terbury had an excellent day today to firm up their third place position while Otago and Coromandel hold on to the leading pack but will need some big results to make the podium.  For Coromandel and Otago, it would be the first podium finish in well over a decade for either region.

Second generation Scholastic Champs participant Tava Santorik was one of eight Bay of Plenty surfers in action today and the team has ten surfers remaining in the event heading into the final day.  Santorik won through to the final of the Under 16 Boys Division.

“I mean, the waves are that fun today, it is pretty easy to surf like yourself out there,” said the stylish natural foot surfer.

Santorik is confident of his team holding down the number one position through to the event completion.

“Well we have got second and third the last couple of years, so it is only right that we take it out this year, our team support has been awesome, cheering each other along and stuff, it gives you a lot of energy when you are out there competing,” said Santorik.

2021 champions Canterbury are hoping that their seven surfers left in the event are enough to get them a podium finish.  Under 16 Girls Division surfer Poppy Entwisle has been in dominant form all week and today was no different with an 11.94 heat total to advance through to the final.

“A lot of my scores have been coming on my backhand on the rights but I am happy to get whatever waves come my way in my heats.”

“It’s been fun as, surf has been on this week, we are in it to win it of course, we have heaps of surfers left so lets go,” said Entwisle. 

Northland’s hopes to jump up the rankings from seventh rest with their youngest team members.  The region has four surfers remaining in the event, three participating in the Under 14 Boys and Girls Divisions.

Taj Phillips had to surf alongside teammate Kentaro Mitchell in their quarterfinal match up and they made it a one-two performance over their counterparts.

“Yeah I am so stoked, it is sick to get through to the semifinals,” the amped up young Northland surfer said.  Heading into the event, Phillips broke his wrist but that hasn’t stopped him taking part.  “It buckled a few times on the take offs, but it is pretty sweet.  Me, Ken and Indi-Lee Ruddell are holding it up for Northland and this is our first time at the event and we are loving it.”

A slight bump in the swell is forecast for the final day of the event with southwest winds swinging northwest.  The day will be filled with action from all divisions from 8am – 2pm.

Live scoring and full results can be seen on www.liveheats.com/surfingnz.  The final day of the event will be streamed live on the Whakaata Maori YouTube channel from 9:30am.

Team points
1, Bay of Plenty (Tauranga Moana), 10615
2, Auckland (Tamaki Makaurau), 9628
3, Canterbury (Otautahi), 8963
4, Otago (Otepoti), 7798
5, Coromandel (Te Tara o te Ika a Maui, 7223
6, Taranaki, 6730
7, Northland (Te Tai Tokerau), 6546
8, Waikato , 6430
9, Gisborne (Te Tairawhiti), 6401
10, Hawkes Bay (Heretaunga), 4577
11, Wellington (Whanganui a Tara), 2908

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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