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Kiwi Surfing Pioneers Duke it Out at Gisborne While Elite Surfers Continue to Wait

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The premier Open Men’s Division will return to action at the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships tomorrow (Friday 12th January).  Eight of the top surfers in New Zealand will battle it out to secure one of four finals berths and a chance to etch their name on the most highly valued piece of surfing silverware in New Zealand.

In 55 years, only 28 surfers have engraved their name on the trophy and of the eight surfers left in the division, only one, Ricardo Christie (Gis), has won the title before (2005).

However, today, competitors in the Open Men’s Division were forced into another lay day at Gisborne.  Competitors were greeted with small waves and organisers had to put the event on hold for an hour and wait for conditions to improve first thing in the morning.  The surf remained below the 1.0m mark all day with morning onshore winds glassing off throughout the day.

Some of New Zealand’s surfing pioneers made their first appearance this week competing in the Over 60 Men’s Division.  Their performances were well beyond their years with the likes of Tony Ogilvy (Whakatane) and local surfer John Gisby making the most of the small waves.

Ogilvy surfed to a 16.13 point heat total for an easy victory that has set up a semifinal with Gisby.  Gisby holds the record for most New Zealand titles which stands at 36.  They will be joined by another fiercely competitive surfer and New Zealand surfing icon in Chris Ransley (Gis).

The second semifinal in the Over 60 Men’s Division features Rupert Newbold (Whangarei), Graham Breckell (Gis) and Spring Thompson (Gis).

Defending Men’s Longboard Champion Zen Wallis (Piha) has started to find the right form advancing through to the final of the event.  He will need to be at his best to defend his title when he faces up to three local surfers in the final.

Two time champion Daniel Procter (Gis) has made a successful return to the competition arena also advancing through to the final and in doing so, posting the highest heat score of the semifinals – 13.9 points out of a possible 20.  Procter is joined by day-one stand out Guy Burns and the powerhouse Sam Johnson in the final.

George Zame (Gis) claimed the first title of the event in the Under 18 Longboard Division when he rode to a 7.1 point ride in the dying stages of the final and a 12.2 point heat total for a comfortable victory.

Finishing in second was Neko Tohiariki (Chch) with Brie Ryan (Gis) in third and Tom Butland (Tara) in fourth.

Sasha Brownlie (Auck) will head to the ISA World Longboard Championships in China next week as a newly crowned National Champion in the Women’s Longboard Division.  Brownlie ran away with the final posting 11.01 points for the win.  Young Christchurch surfer Estella Hungerford nudged past step-mum Donna Henderson to claim second with Ariana Shewry (Tara) in fourth.

Four strong finalists were determined in the Men’s Stand Up Paddleboard Division which was led by Raglan surfer Daniel Kereopa.  Kereopa posted a 14.56 point heat total to win his semifinal as he looks to regain the title he has held on two occasions but not since 2013.

Kereopa will have some huge competition from the likes of Jamie Andrews (Tara) who made a welcome return to the event and left his mark on the first two rounds.  The two will be joined by Sean Hovell and Geoff Pardoe, both of Gisborne.  Hovell is a New Zealand representative and together with Pardoe, they are guaranteed to give Kereopa and Andrews a major challenge for the title.

Competitors in the Under 16 Boys Division battled the early morning low tide and junky waves which ultimately had an impact on their performances with low scoring matchups.  Kora Cooper (Rag) was the first to advance his semifinal to make it two finals for the event.  Cooper is also yet to contest the Under 18 Boys Division Semifinals where he will look to make it three.

Cooper posted a 12.03 point heat total today to advance alongside Tom Robinson (Whangarei) who followed close behind on 11.50 points.

In the second semifinal it was Whakatane surfer Jack Lee that advanced in first place ahead of Gisborne’s Finn Vette who took much of the heat to find his feet in the tough conditions.

In the Under 16 Girls Division, Raglan’s Brie Bennett followed in Cooper’s footsteps surfing to the highest heat score of the round with a 13.6 point heat total to advance through to the final alongside Stella Smith (Gis).  In the other semifinal it was Georgia Wederell (Mnt) that advanced to the final alongside Estella Hungerford (Chch).

The swell is expected to remain around the 0.5m to 1.0m mark for day six of the event on Friday with light morning winds and onshore easterlies in the afternoon.

The draw for all divisions can be found on the Surfing New Zealand website.

Please see below for results from day five of the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships 2018 held at Makorori Beach, Gisborne today (Thursday 11th January).
Under 16 Boys Division Semifinals
Heat 1

Kora Cooper (Rag), 12.03, 1, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 11.5, 2, Tom Butland (Tara), 11.17, 3, Myka Black (Chch), 8.63, 4

Heat 2

Jack Lee (Whaka), 9.93, 1, Finn Vette (Gis), 8.9, 2, Luis Southwood (Whaka), 8.27, 3, Finn Johnson (Gis), 7.23, 4

Under 16 Girls Division Semifinals

Heat 1

Georgia Wederell (Mnt), 11.7, 1, Estella Hungerford (Chch), 10, 2, Natasha Gouldsbury (Levin), 8.87, 3

Heat 2

Brie Bennett (Rag), 13.6, 1, Stella Smith (Gis), 10.9, 2, Ava Henderson (Chch), 5.93, 3

Men’s Stand Up Paddleboard Division Round 1
Heat 1

Daniel Kereopa (Rag), 16.8, 1, Sean Hovell (Gis), 10.6, 2, Rangitawhiao Kingi (Gis), 9.3, 3, Sam Loader (Chch), 5.9, 4

Heat 2

Jamie Andrews (Tara), 13.8, 1, Ollie Houghton (Auck), 12.1, 2, Steev Peyroux (Dun), 6.87, 3

Heat 3

Geoff Pardoe (Gis), 11.6, 1, Jamie Scott (Whangarei), 11.2, 2, Alan Te Moananui (Kaik), 9.16, 3

Stand Up Paddleboard Division Semifinals
Heat 1

Jamie Andrews (Tara), 12.4, 1, Sean Hovell (Gis), 9.87, 2, Ollie Houghton (Auck), 9.14, 3

Heat 2

Daniel Kereopa (Rag), 14.6, 1, Geoff Pardoe (Gis), 9.33, 2, Jamie Scott (Whangarei), 8.86, 3

Over 60 Men’s Division Round 1
Heat 1

Tony Ogilvy (Whaka), 16.1, 1, Spring Thompson (Gis), 7.84, 2, Larry Foster (Gis), 5.77, 3, Gary Quinn (Gis), 3.97, 4

Heat 2

Graham Breckell (Gis), 8, 1, Rupert Newbold (Whngrei), 7.64, 2, Ady Van Der Beek (Mnt), 4.23, 3, Ken Nicholson (Auck), 1.3, 4

Heat 3

John Gisby (Gis), 13.5, 1, Chris Ransley (Gis), 9.9, 2, Ben Hutchings (Gis), 6.37, 3, Ross Moodie (Gis), 4.37, 4


Men’s Longboard Division Semifinals
Heat 1

Zen Wallis (Piha), 13.6, 1, Guy Edge Burns (Gis), 12.5, 2, Hamiora Gibson (Gis), 6.33, 3, Rupert Newbold (Ocean Beach), 5.47, 4

Heat 2

Daniel Procter (Gis), 13.9, 1, Sam Johnson (Gis), 12.6, 2, Kelly Ryan (Gis), 10.6, 3, Geoff Pardoe (Gis), 6.5, 4


Women’s Longboard Division Final
Sasha Brownlie (Auck), 11.1, 1, Estella Hungerford (Chch), 6.83, 2, Donna Henderson (Chch), 6.33, 3, Ariana Shewry (Tara), 5.1, 4

Junior Men’s Longboard Division Final
George Zame (Gis), 12.2, 1, Neko Tohiariki (Chch), 7.97, 2, Brie Ryan (Gis), 5.53, 3, Tom Butland (Tara), 5.53, 4

Below is a schedule of events that will take place with surfing being held from 8am – 4pm daily.

Day 1 – Open Men, Junior Boys divisions
Day 2 – Addition of Women’s divisions
Day 3 – Addition of Men’s senior age group divisions
Day 4 – Addition of Longboard divisions
Day 5 – Addition of SUP Divisions
Day 6 – Addition of SUP Divisions and Kneeboard
Day 7 – All divisions plus SUP Race

The event runs along the Gisborne coastline from 7th – 13th January.

The Health 2000 National Surfing Championships forms the first leg of the 2018 New Zealand Surf Series.

In the 54 year history of the event the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships has grown to encompass 29 divisions spread across all disciplines and age groups from Under 14 through to Over 60 for males and females, longboard, kneeboard and paddleboard.  Over 300 entries have been received for the event.

2018 marks the fourteenth time the event has been held at Gisborne, the most out of any location in the country.  The event was last held at Gisborne in 2014.  The event would not be possible without the support of Health 2000, Eastern Institute of Technology and Gisborne Boardriders.

Further Information
For further information on the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships 2018 please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

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