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National Surfing Championships return to Piha For 60th Celebration

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Image courtesy of New Zealand Surfing Magazine

The 60th edition of the New Zealand National Surfing Championships will be staged at Piha in early 2023, the fifteenth time the event has been held on the West Coast of Auckland.  

The National Championships brings together the best surfers in New Zealand and with the World Surf League Regional Qualifying and Challenger Series events kicking off in February, the very best Kiwi talent will be available to attend the event.  

Taking place from January 8-14, the seven-day event brings together the surfing community from all over the country to enjoy a fun week of sun and surfing at one of New Zealand’s most well-known surf beaches. Just an hour from Auckland CBD the black sand beach of Piha on the wild West Coast has a thriving surfing community and a talent pool stretching throughout all divisions including Elliot Paerata-Reid, Zen Wallis, Dune Kennings in the Open, and a number of up-and-coming groms including Kyra Wallis, Will Hardie and Bill Byers.  

When the event was last held at Piha in 2021, it was won by Raglan’s Billy Stairmand surfing to his eighth National Title alongside Gisborne’s Saffi Vette who won her first title in the Open Women’s Division. Looking to claim his ninth National Title and with a second year of Challenger Series experience under his belt, Stairmand will be one to watch during the 2023 National Champs. Daniel Farr from Taranaki will be entering the competition as National Open Men’s Champion thanks to his jaw dropping performance at Westport in 2022.  

Benefiting from a year on the Qualifying Series and representing New Zealand at the World Surfing Games, Farr will be giving his opponents a run for their money as he hopes to defend his title.

On Farr’s build up to the 2023 Surfing Nationals, “I don’t think my approach to this Nationals will be any different to last. I go to every event with the goal of winning, so that will be my approach to these Nationals. Obviously there can be some nerves and expectations to defend my first title, but I’ll be doing my normal mental preparation to clear my head and be ready for the event”.  

New Plymouth Surfriders will defend the club title which they won for the first time in 2022 down at Westport. This will be hotly contested by several leading clubs from Raglan, Auckland, Mount Maunganui, Christchurch, Dunedin and the hometown heroes Keyhole Boardriders and Lion Rock Boardriders. Also, up for grabs at the 60th Championships is the Peter Byers Overall Performance of the Event Award. Peter Byers started surfboard building in 1958 after being visited by Bing Copeland and Rick Stoner. The two California lifeguards taught him to shape boards and ride waves. Remembered as one of the pioneering board riders and the founding father of board making in New Zealand Peter passed away in 2012 at the age of 71.  That year and every New Zealand Surfing Nationals since, we have honoured the memory and pioneering work of Pete Byers with a beautiful surfboard shaped trophy shaped out of West Coast Kauri by local craftsman Clive Barron.  

It is expected that more than 350 entries will be received for the event.  A total of 29 divisions will be contested including the premier Open Men and Women plus additional divisions comprising of age groups from Under 14 boys and girls through to Over 60s for males and females and Longboard, Stand Up Paddleboard, Bodyboard, Kneeboard and adaptive disciplines.  

Set out below are winners of the major divisions contested for the past six years.  

Open Men  

2017 – Billy Stairmand (Rag)  

2018 – Ricardo Christie (Gis)  

2019 – Billy Stairmand (Rag)  

2020 – Elliot Paerata – Reid (Piha)  

2021 – Billy Stairmand (Rag)  

2022- Daniel Farr (Tara)  

Open Women  

2017 – Ella Williams (WGM)  

2018 – Raiha Ensor (Mnt)  

2019 – Aimee Brown (G Barrier)  

2020 – Ava Henderson (Chch)  

2021 – Saffi Vette (Gis)  

2022 – Paige Hareb (Tara)  

Under 18 Boys Division  

2017 – Jonas Tawharu (Mnt)  

2018 – Conor McLennan (Chch)  

2019 – Caleb Cutmore (Rag)  

2020 – Jack Lee (Whakatane)  

2021 – Finn Vette (Gis)  

2022 – Rakiatea Tau (Chch)  

Under 18 Girls Division  

2017 – Saffi Vette (Gis)  

2018 – Elin Tawharu (Mnt)  

2019 – Saffi Vette (Gis)  

2020 – Ava Henderson (Chch)  

2021 – Ava Henderson (Chch)  

2022 – Ava Henderson (Chch)  


2017 – Thomas Kibblewhite (Auck)  

2018 – Zen Wallis (Piha)  

2019 – Jamie Andrews (Tara)  

2020 – Ambrose McNeill (Chch)  

2021 – Daniel Procter (Gis)  

2022 – Jack Tyro (Chch)

Further Information  

For further information on the 2023 National Surfing Championships 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.  

Social Media  

Keep up with all the action by following @surfingnz on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  Use the hashtag #Nats2023 to follow the story.  

Surfing New Zealand is proudly partnered by:  

Sport NZ  

Water Safety NZ  






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