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Momentum builds for Kiwi  Surfers in El Salvador

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Date: 2nd 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

Momentum builds for Kiwi Surfers in El Salvador

Challenging conditions for the early stages of the 2023 ISA World Surfing Games has provided mixed results for the Kiwi surfers with two of the girls, Pia Rogers (WGM) and Paige Hareb (Tara) advancing through to Round 2 after their opening days performance. Remaining in the main rounds Billy Stairmand (Rag) and Kehu Butler put on excellent performances as well progressing through to Round 2 and 3.

Unfortunately after an excellent start to the event Dune Kennings (Piha) struggled to find the right waves in his Round 2 matchup and has now been relegated into the repechage rounds alongside Saffi Vette (Gis) in the women’s division.

Waves in the 1.5m – 2.0m range have continued into day two of the event being held at El Sunzal and La Bocana, El Salvador.

The Kiwis were led by Billy Stairmand (Raglan) who advanced to the third round alongside Japanese surfer Reo Inaba.  Stairmand posted a 11.77-point heat total for a comfortable win.

“Super stoked to make that one, we changed podiums, so the conditions were a little different however I managed to get a good start and build from there. Stoked to get this first 2 out of the way and get a bit of a roll on”. “I am feeling good” he added.

Stairmand was joined by Kehu Butler who also advanced through to the second round with an outstanding performance in one of the last heats of the day. Surfing to a 13.43 heat total Butler looked confident throughout the heat starting off with a 5.83 before rapidly building his momentum finding a pair of rides in the 6-point range to seal the deal whilst his opposition struggled to find waves with scoring potential. He now advances to Round 2 heat 24 where he will come up against Japanese wonderkid Kanoa Igirashi.

Unfortunately, Dune Kennings was relegated to Repechage 2 Heat 4 after his Round 2 matchup. Kennings started off the heat by getting a 2.8 on the board and slowly building momentum. Portuguese superstar Frederico Morais however started his heat with a 6.8 and lead comfortably building on scores with his backup being a 5.17 he ended the heat with a 12.0 heat total. Kennings looked to be advancing through in second place until the dying minutes when Taichi Wakita of Japan found one of the waves of the heat surfing to a 9.37 total relegating Kennings to 3rd place and Repechage 2 Heat 4.

Paige Hareb was the only female to surf today in her first-round heat of the event. Surfing in heat 36 she was up against Yolanda Sequueira of Portugal and Una Briton of Ireland.  Hareb surfed to an 8.9 heat total with a total of 3 waves. A pair of 4s keeping her in the running whilst Sequueira managed a 4 before finding a second backup wave of 6.0.

On her first-round matchup Paige said “It was tricky conditions. Middle of the day, super-hot and right on high tide. I made one mistake of being too fussy with priority but still happy to get round one out of the way!” With her second-place result Paige now heads to Heat 17 Round 2.

Competition will resume tomorrow at 8:00am CST with Women’s Main Round 2 and Women’s Repechage 1 at La Bocana and the continuation of Men’s Main Round 2 and Repechage 1 at El Sunzal.

La Bocana
Women Round 2
– Pia Rogers Heat 10
–  Paige Hareb Heat 17

Repechage 1
– Saffi Vette Heat 2

El Sunzal 
Mens Round 2
– Kehu Butler Heat 24

Schedule for Friday 2nd June

La Bocana
18 heats of Round 2 (Women)

8 heats of Repechage 1 (Women)

El Sunzal
12 Heats of Round 2 (Men) Heats 13-24

16 Heats of Repechage 1 (Men) Heats 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-10-12-14-16–17-18-19-20
Heats # 9 – 11 – 13 – 15 will not run

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

Round 2- Heat 2 (Men)
1 Billy Stairmand 11.77 NZL, 2 Reo Inaba 10.17 JPN, 3 Jose Joaquin Lopez 8.67 VEN, 4 Kevin Cortez 6.66 NCA

Round 1 – Heat 36 (Women)
1 Yolanda Sequueira 10.40 POR, 2 Paige Hareb 8.94 NZL, 3 Una Britton 4.10 IRL

Round 1 – Heat 46 (Men)
1 Kehu Butler13.43 NZL, 2 Uri Uziel 9.06, ISR, 3 Noah Arkfeld 8.50 PHI, 4 Natthakron Sae-Iew 5.47 THA

Round 2 – Heat 4 (Men)
1 Frederico Morais 12.00 POR, 2 Taichi Wakita 9.37 JPN, 3 Dune Kennings 9.10 NZL, 4 Cesar Amador 8.14 NCA.

Coming Up
Round 2 Heat 10 Pia Rogers (Women’s)
Repechage 1 Heat 2 Saffi Vette (Women’s)
Round 2 Heat 24 Kehu Butler (Mens)
Round 2 Heat 17 Paige Hareb (Women’s)
Round 3 Heat 2 Billy Stairmand (Mens)
Repechage 2 Heat 4 Dune Kennings (Mens)

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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