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Japanese Typhoon Swell Makes For Mixed Kiwi Performances

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Japanese Typhoon Swell Makes For Mixed Kiwi Performances

The typhoon swell hitting Japan for the early stages of the 2018 UR ISA World Surfing Games has provided mixed results for the Kiwi surfers with the Kiwi girls remaining in the main rounds while the Kiwi boys have been relegated into the repechage rounds.

Big swell in the 1.5m – 2.0m range has continued into day two of the event being held at Tahara Beach, Japan.

The Kiwis were led by Paige Hareb (Taranaki) who advanced to the second round alongside local favourite Ren Hashimoto.  Hareb posted a 6.94 point heat total for the win.

Hareb was joined by her two female team mates Elin Tawharu and Raiha Ensor, both of Mount Maunganui.

The two teenage surfers finished second to their Japanese counterparts whilst progressing through to the second round.

“The conditions were super tricky, big and quite rippy, lots of close-outs and paddling” commented Tawharu about the conditions.

“I just focused on myself and getting two waves within in 20 minutes” she added of her strategy and small heat total.

Tawharu is stepping up to the New Zealand Surfing Team for the first time after competing in the Junior Surfing Team for several years, finishing as high as third in the Under 16 Girls Division in 2016.

“There are a lot more girls entered into this event, a similar number to the boys which makes a bigger competitive field. The level of surfing also seems higher compared to the juniors and there are a few people who are on the World Tour that have entered in this event so it’s sick to be around them and see them surf.  Also being in the New Zealand  Team with the older crew is epic” she added.

Ensor, despite having contested the event twice before still felt the first round nerves in her heat but overcame them to advance.

“I was a little bit nervous and fell off on a couple waves in my heat. But a progression is still good and avoiding those repo heats is good for all of us to stay positive” said Ensor.

All three girls will be back in action late on day two of the event contesting their second round heats.

Billy Stairmand got the boys off to a flyer winning his first heat of the event, a small goal that he knew would boost the team.  However, early on day two Stairmand suffered a narrow loss placing third in his heat and being relegated to the repechage rounds, only to bounce back in his second heat of the day to get his campaign back on track.

“We are looking forward to another big day of surfing tomorrow so hopefully everyone can get online and cheer us on, we have loved all the support so far” said Stairmand.

Late on day one, Levi Stewart (Waihi Beach) was relegated to the repechage rounds as was Zen Wallis (Piha) early on day two.  Both surfers are yet to contest their repechage round 2 heats after ‘walk throughs’ earlier in the day.

The ISA UR World Surfing Games is contested over seven days at Tahara Beach with over 200 athletes from 42 nations in attendance.

New Zealand placed 14th overall in 2017 with the French taking the title in home waters.  From 2019, the World Surfing Games becomes compulsory for all surfers aspiring to go to Tokyo 2020.

Please see below for results to date from the 2018 UR ISA World Surfing Games being held at Tahara Beach, Japan.

Men’s Round 1
Heat 2

Billy Stairmand, NZL, 9.06, 1, Rio Waida, INA, 7.9, 2, Lester Alexis Hernandez Escobar, GUA, 6.5, 3, Dextar Muskens, AUS, 5.27, 4
Heat 26
David Van Zyl, RSA, 11.7, 1, I Made Darma Yasa, INA, 9.17, 2, Levi Stewart, NZL, 6.03, 3, Afridun Amu, AFG, 1.83, 4
Heat 30
Callum Robson, AUS, 10.7, 1, I Made Raditya Rondi, INA, 7.9, 2, Zen Wallis, NZL, 6.96, 3, Jon Gazi, ISV, 2.67, 4

Men’s Round 2
Heat 2

Hiroto Ohara, JPN, 10.60, 1, Gatien Delahaye, FRA, 8.50, 2, Billy Stairmand, NZL, 7.94, 3, Nick Holmgren, SWE, 3.23, 4

Men’s Repechage Round 2
Heat 2

Billy Stairmand, NZL, 10.27, 1, Swen Zaugg, SUI, 7.50, 2, Leandro Usuna, ARG, 7.50, 3, Lester Alexis Hernandez Escobar, GUA, 6.70, 4

Women’s Round 1
Heat 6

Paige Hareb, NZL, 6.94, 1, Ren Hashimoto, JPN, 6.33, 2, Hannah Bennett, FIJ, 2.9, 3, Fabienne Sutter, SUI, 0.23, 4
Heat 10
Hinako Kurokawa, JPN, 8.34, 1, Raiha Ensor, NZL, 5, 2, Alena Ehrenbold, SUI, 2.2, 3, Kim Bennett, FIJ, 1, 4
Heat 14
Minori Kawai, JPN, 5.83, 1, Elin Tawharu, NZL, 4.77, 2, Alicia Martinet, SUI, 2.44, 3, Chelsea Tuach, BAR, 2.37, 4


The Olympic qualification process starts with the World Surf League (WSL) where ten males and 8 females on the 2019 World Tour will directly qualify for Tokyo 2020.  No more than two athletes per nation can qualify via this process.

2018 marks the lead-in to Olympic qualification via the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games.  A good team result in 2018 will set up nations with a good seed for their first qualification attempt at the 2019 World Surfing Games.  The top ranked male and female from the Oceania Region at the 2019 event will qualify for Tokyo 2020.

Athletes have a further chance to qualify for the Olympics at the 2020 ISA World Surfing Games where the final four males and six females in each division will be determined by the top placing athletes at that event.  The selections will then need to be ratified by the New Zealand Olympic Committee before being confirmed.

View the full Olympic qualification system.

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.

Further Information
For further information on the New Zealand Surfing Team please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

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