Te Tai Tokerau turned it on for the first day of the 2023 Aotearoa Maori Surfing Titles yesterday (Saturday 21st October), the thirtieth edition of the event, providing manuhiri with exactly what they travelled north for, fun waves and good times.
Making the most of the day, surfing took place at Mokorau from dawn until dusk with the 1.0m waves pumping in the morning before the tide gobbled up the swell during the middle of the day then turned on again early evening.
Mahaki’s father-son combo of Chris and Navryn Malone epitomised the event, participating in heats all day long as a whanau. Their performances were at the top end of the 115-participant field with both surfers advancing to the semifinals of the Rangatira Tane. Navryn top scored in the quarterfinals with a 14.0 point heat total to advance alongside his father in second place. The two surfers eliminated Dean Morrison from the division, Morrison bouncing back in the Over 35 Men’s Division to make the finals.
While Morrison missed out in the premier division, it was his good friend Tai Kereama that kept his hopes alive, Kereama travelling back from his base in Indonesia to attend the event for the first time thanks to some convincing from Morrison.
Other surfers to advance through to the semifinals included the Wallis brothers Zen and Jai (Ngapuhi), Ben Moretti and Tai Murphy.
In the Rangatira Wahine, it was defending champion Natasha Gouldsbury (Te Atiawa) that looked strong along with Raglan’s Brie Bennett (Ngati Hine) and Elin Tawharu (Ngati Raukawa). Local surfer Kelly Murphy showed everyone how to surf Mokorau advancing on one wave of 6.87 after incurring an interference.
The junior divisions took up much of the afternoon running over the full tide and into the evening as the tide receded. The finalists were found across all five divisions. Navryn Malone was again a standout alongside Tai Murphy (Ngati Awa). Caelan Pitkeathly changed out his longboard for a shortboard and did enough to advance to the finals as did Manu Roberts (Ngai Tahu).
Te Waiotu Farlie (Ngati Porou), Indi-Lee Ruddell (Ngapuhi), India Kennings (Ngati Whatua Orakei) and Kyra Wallis (Ngapuhi) made the final of the Taitamawahine.
The Under 16 Taitamatane Division got some fun conditions at the end of the day when Luca Thompson and Harrison Biddle (Te Aupouri) advanced out of the first semfinal and Zeke Pragert and young Jaxon Pardoe (Ngati Porou) advanced in the second semifinal.
Thompson made it two finals from two advancing in the Under 14 Boys Division where he will face off against Taj Phillips, Remy Sale and Lennox Holdaway.
The Longboard Tane was surfed through to completion with the option taken up to make the most of the point breaks. It was defending champion Zen Wallis (Ngapuhi) that surfed to an 11.66 point heat total and defence of his title. Caelan Pitkeathly finished the final in second place ahead of Jai Wallis (Ngapuhi) in third and Jamie Andrews (Te Atiawa) in fourth.
The finals day sees the winners of the Taitamatane and Taitamawahine (Under 18 Boys and Girls) receive the Surfline Scholarship Awards which include $500 and coaching support from The Art of Surfing. The Tangaroatanga – Innovation Award – He tohu maumahara o Taniora – Danny Carse will be awarded for the second time at the event going to the most innovative and .
A total of 21 Iwi are represented at the event this weekend, all working toward the Iwi of Origin Title currently held by Te Atiawa. This will be the third time the event has been held in Te Tai Tokerau in its 27-year history.
Live scoring including all results from day one of the event can be viewed on www.liveheats.com by searching Surfing New Zealand.
For more information on the 2023 Aotearoa Maori Surfing Titles, please contact Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
High resolution images will be available to media upon request. Images will be distributed free of charge.
The 2023 Aotearoa Maori Surfing Titles would not be possible without support from Northland Inc, Puhi Te Aewa, Drop In surf and supply, Te Rarawa Kaiwhare, Sticky Johnson, Kai Ora Honey, Inlet Surf Shop and Surfing New Zealand.
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