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National Championships Halted Due to One of Biggest Storms on Planet

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One of the biggest active storms around the globe halted action early on the first day of the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships being held in Dunedin.

Less than two hours of surfing took place at St Clair Beach before conditions deteriorated and strong winds became a hazard this morning (Monday 6th January).

The Otago coastline is currently being battered by winds forecasted to reach 130km/hr today and swells up to 4.0m.  St Clair Beach started out contestable with the Open Men’s Division taking the water early.  However, by the time the junior divisions hit the water, scoring opportunities were less frequent and winds started to damage the event site bringing a stop to the action.

2019 finalist Elliot Paerata – Reid (Piha) kicked off his campaign with a come-from-behind win in the first round.  Paerata – Reid posted a 12.90 point heat total in his early morning match-up finding his feet on a nice lefthander to take the lead in the latter half of the heat.  He advanced alongside local hopeful JC Susan.

Junior surfers Finn Vette (Gis) and Jack Luke (Tara) also won their match-ups today with Dunedin surfer Damien Phillips rounding out the winners circle.

Only one heat of the Under 18 Boys Division was contested with Christchurch surfer Dara O’Malley taking the win.

The truncated day will force a backlog of heats to be completed during this week.  When conditions improve, several large days of surfing will be required to get complete the event on Saturday.  The final day of the event will be streamed live via the Sky Sport Next YouTube channel.

Action will take place from approx. 8am on Tuesday morning with confirmation of venue and order of events to be confirmed at 7:00am.  The likely venue will be St Clair Beach.

Please see below for results from a truncated day one of the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships held at St Clair Beach, Dunedin today (Monday 6th January).

Open Men’s Round of 40
Heat 1

Damian Phillips (Dun), 7.50, 1, Sam Sands (Chch), 6.83, 2, Dawson Tamati (Tara), 4.10, 3
Heat 2
Finn Vette (Gis), 8.16, 1, Cassidy Mann (Auck), 6.40, 2, Jackson Peak (Auck), 5.60, 3, Ruben Peyroux (Dun), 1.76, 4
Heat 3
Jack Luke (Tara), 8.77, 1, Niwa Ututaonga (Chch), 6.24, 2, Ollie Charlesworth (Auck), 5.86, 3, Jordan Sparrow (Chch), 5.77, 4
Heat 4
Elliot Paerata Reid (Piha), 12.90, 1, JC Susan (Dun), 8.76, 2, Jamie Civil (Dun), 8.20, 3, Neko Tohiariki (Chch), 4.70, 4

Under 18 Boys Round of 34
Heat 1

Dara O’Malley (Chch), 5.6, 1, Thomas Charlesworth (Auck), 2.8, 2, Elliot Menzies (Chch), 1.4, 3, Journey Lum (Whngrei), 0, 4

2020 marks surfing’s debut as an Olympic sport and come July, New Zealand will have at least two athletes competing at the inaugural surfing event in Tokyo.

The Health 2000 National Surfing Championships is the first of several domestic events where Kiwi surfers will get the opportunity to push for selection into the New Zealand Team that will attend the World Surfing Games in May.  Under International Surfing Association (ISA) guidelines, Stairmand and Williams along with Paige Hareb (Tara) and Ricardo Christie (Gis) are automatic selections for the New Zealand Team leaving only one spot each for the men and women.

It is the eighth time the National Championships has been held at Dunedin.  The longest running surfing event in New Zealand takes place over six days from January 6-11.  In the 56 year history of the event the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships has grown to encompass 29 divisions spread across all disciplines and age groups making for a largely inclusive event, filled with high level surfing as well as good times in and out of the water.  Over 280 entries have been received for the event.

Further Information
For further information on the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships 2020 please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

High resolution action images of the surfing will be available to media free of charge upon request.

Event Hotline
The Surfing New Zealand event hotline is 0211134506.  This will be updated daily at approximately 7am with venue, divisions contested and conditions.

Social Media
Keep up with all the action by following @surfingnz on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Use the hashtag #H2KNats2020 to follow the story.

Surfing New Zealand is proudly partnered by:

Sport NZ
Water Safety NZ



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