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Premier Divisions Enter Water in Dunedin as Southerly Rolls Through

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The premier Open Men’s and Women’s Divisions hit the water at the Emerson’s South Island Championships today (Saturday 31 March) with the top seeds proving their worth as the event heads into the final day tomorrow.

Day two greeted the hardy South Island surfers with a clean 1.0m swell and offshore winds but an ominous black cloud bank loomed on the horizon.

By the time the Open Men’s Division was contested, the weather had drastically deteriorated.  The howling southerly blew in making competition tough and officiating the same, everyone having to retreat back from the tented pavement area on the seawall edge.

Standouts in the Open Men’s Division included Piha duo Zen Wallis and Elliot Paerata – Reid.  However, it was local surfer Jack McLeod that surfed to the highest heat score of the round – 14.0 points out of a possible 20 as well as the single best wave score of the day, showcasing his signature backhand manoeuvres.

McLeod was one of five local Dunedin surfers that advanced through today’s surfing making sure that they have good representation on the finals day and a good chance to retain the trophy in the region.

Harrison Whiteside (Chch) also showed good form in the first heat of the day advancing to the quarterfinals alongside Dunedin’s Josh Thickpenny.  Other surfers to win their first-round matchups included Conor Mclennen (Chch), Jack Wilson (Chch) and Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch).

The Open Women’s Semifinals were held at the end of the day with the most exciting surfing as the high tide retreated from the St Clair esplanade sea wall and produced wedging peaks.  Otago University student, Britt Kindred (Mur), tore the waves apart with grit and precision taking off on some the bigger set waves to advance through to the final.  Local surfer Tash Civil only just missed out on the finals placing third to Kindred and junior Estella Hungerford (Chch) but she wooed the crowd with some fearless elevator drops.

The Over 30 Men’s Division saw Josh Thickpenny in action yet again and blitzing the field with his renowned smooth approach in the deteriorating conditions.  Jamie Civil (Dun) lapped up the heavy conditions and was joined by local Luke Murphy and Dane Robertson (Kaik) in advancing to the final.

The Under 20 Boys Division played host to some exceptional surfing from a mixture of local surfers and visiting Christchurch lads who battled it out for Semifinals berths.  Standouts were Sam Sands (Chch), Henry Hawke (Chch) and Thomas Harcourt (Chch) who advanced through to the final six surfers.

The Under 18 Boys Division had current national champion Conor McLennan (Chch) continuing his good form in the deep South producing straight wins in all the heats he surfed.  Fourteen-year-old Myka Black (Chch) was also on form with the highest heat score of the first round – 14.0 points, making for some exciting surfing to be witnessed by the spectators.

First thing in the morning, the Stand Up Paddleboard Division made the most of the glassy conditions.  It was local photographer, Mark Stevenson that dominated advancing to the final alongside the South Island’s top SUP exponent Alan Te Moananui (Kaik), Steev Peyroux (Dun) and Dion Findlay (WC).

After another ten hour day, the South Coast Boardriders showed their hospitality at their clubrooms with everyone sampling the newly brewed Shark Bell from Emerson’s.  Given the ferocious conditions today, it was not surprising that Ed Sheeran was not seen enjoying the surfing, but it is expected that he will turn up tomorrow to watch some fabulous surfing.

The surf is expected to peak early on the final day of the event tomorrow with light morning offshores turning sea breeze in the afternoon.

The three day event is hosted by South Coast Boardriders and is dual sanctioned by Surfing New Zealand and the South Island Surfing Association.  The event features 16 divisions ranging from Open Men and Women through to Under 14 Boys and Girls, Longboard, Seniors and Stand Up Paddleboard.

Please see below for results of the Open Men’s Division from day two of the Emerson’s South Island Surfing Championships held at St Clair Beach, Dunedin today (Saturday 31 March).

Heat 1
Harrison Whiteside (ChCh), 11.7, 1, Josh Thickpenny (Dun), 11.6, 2, Lyndon Hutton (Auck), 8.47, 3, Moss Thompson (Chch), 8.17, 4
Heat 2
Conor McLennan (Chch), 10.9, 1, JC Susan (Dun), 9.5, 2, Felipe Dos Santos (Dun), 9.3, 3, Julen Laprte (FRA), 8.2, 4
Heat 3
Elliot Paerata Reid (Piha), 11.6, 1, Nick Hardaker (Chch), 8.6, 2, David Watkins (ChCh), 3.9, 3, Craig Grimshaw (Kaik), 2.5, 4
Heat 4
Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch), 12.9, 1, Luke Murphy (Dun), 7.3, 2, Jacob Stevenson (Dun), 5.3, 3
Heat 5
Zen Wallis (Piha), 13.5, 1, Jamie Civil (Dun), 7.1, 2, James Murphy (Dun), 5.23, 3
Heat 6

Jack Wilson (Chch), 10.6, 1, Dane Robertson (Kaik), 8.6, 2, Thomas Harcourt (Chch), 7.6, 3, Damian Phillips (Dun), 5.6, 4
Heat 7
Jack McLeod (Dun), 14, 1, Elliott Brown (Dun), 12, 2, Jared Crawford (Chch), 7.8, 3, Niwa Ututaonga (Chch), 4.2, 4
Heat 8
Matt Hansen (Mnt), 11.6, 1, Sam Sands (Chch), 10.6, 2, Lyndon Fairbairn (Dun), 9.8, 3, Hugh Ritchie (ChCh), 7.7, 4

The Emerson’s South Island Surfing Championships is the second of six events on the 2017 New Zealand Surf Series which started with the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships held at Gisborne in January.  See below for remaining events:

Event 2: Emerson’s South Island Surfing Championships – 30 March – 1 April, Dunedin (SNZ 3 star)
Event 3: Exit Surf Men’s Canterbury Championships – 21-23 April, Christchurch (SNZ 4 star)
Event 4: Backdoor Oceanbridge Manu Bay Pro – 27-29 April, Raglan (SNZ 4 star)
Event 5: Rip Curl Raglan Pro pres by Galbraiths – 4-6 May, Raglan (SNZ 6 star)
Event 6: Backdoor BayBash – 17-18 November, Hawkes Bay (SNZ 3 star)

The event is also part of the New Zealand Grom Series and the New Zealand Longboard Series.

For more information on the Emerson’s South Island Surfing Championships please contact Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

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