The Rip Curl Pro Raglan field was slashed from 86 surfers to just 28 after a full day of surfing at Manu Bay today (Saturday 18th March) with the quarterfinals of the event set to commence early on Sunday.
Aotearoa’s top surfers battled it out throughout the day surfing to some big heat totals as they vie for the two titles on offer and a share of the $8,000 prize money.
The surf remained fun with a 1.0m swell and southwest winds all day. As the tide pushed in during the afternoon, the surf cleaned up for the later heats as the West Coast sun set and the big crowd enjoyed the hospitality in the Corona tent.
In traditional Raglan style, it was the local knowledge that came to the fore with five of eight heat winners in the second round having spent considerable time based at Raglan. None more so than that of original Whangarei surfer Tom Robinson who surfed to a 15.10 point heat total.
“I guess the heat before mine the tide was low but during my heat it started pulsing and I had some lucky rhythm with the clean waves, it was fun,” said Robinson who was one of four goofy foot surfers to advance to the final 16 in the Men’s Division.
“On the forehand at Manu Bay it is way more difficult to put it into the lip but if you can get the speed down the line you can use your rail and throw more spray and the judges seem to be liking that” added Robinson. “Tomorrow I will have to keep doing what I am doing, surf my hardest and have fun.”
Robinson advanced alongside Caleb Cutmore in his heat, the other goofy footers being young Tao Mouldey (Mnt) and Callum Chuter (Mnt).
National Champion Dune Kennings (Piha) was looking to find form during the first day of the event and placed second in his heat to advance to the quarterfinals.
“Frothing to be here at Raglan and get a few waves and try and get the momentum going today,” said Kennings. “There’s a few diamonds in the rough out there but trying to find the good waves is hard. I got a few but tomorrow I will need to do some bigger turns and go a bit harder to advance,” he added after placing second in his heat to young Whangarei surfer Cooper Ashill.
Defending event champion (2021), Taylor Hutchison (Rag) looked sharp in his title defence surfing to a 13.50 point heat total as did Alex Dive (Mnt) who returned to competition for the event. Others to take impressive heat wins included Luke Hughes (Rag), Jay Piper – Healion (Whiti) and Callum Chuter (Mnt).
Piper – Healion secured the Volkswagen Highest Score of the Day Award for his 15.50 point heat total in the first round.
Elin Tawharu (Mnt) kicked off the Open Women’s Division with a 13.20 point heat total – the highest of the first round. The goofy footer made the most of the waves before the tide bottomed out midway through the round.
The 22-year-old has recently been called up to the Swedish Surfing Team who will compete at the World Surfing Games being held in El Salvador in May. Tawharu won the Swedish National Championships held at Waco, Texas in 2022.
Tomorrow morning, Tawharu will face off against Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), Grace Spiers (WGM) and Liv Haysom (Piha). Haysom and Spiers had an excellent first round exchange with Spiers finishing 0.10 points ahead of Haysom.
Four-time event champion Ella Williams (WGM) returned to the competitive arena today and was instantly a standout as she surfed to a 13.50 point heat total. Williams will surf against Gabi Paul (Piha), Billie Scott (Mnt) and Lola Groube (Pau) in the second round.
National Champion Pia Rogers (WGM) led the way for the junior surfers taking a win in the final heat of the round against Ava Henderson (Chch) and Leia Millar (Piha). An 11.90 point heat total was enough to see her advance.
Commenting on the progression “Being patient, waiting for the sets to come” replied Rogers of her strategy. “It was slow out there but I made sure I was on the first wave of the heat and that was what separated me from the other girls early,” added Rogers who, despite being happy with her performance, admitted to being nervous going up against two strong opponents.
Other junior surfers to advance to the quarterfinals included the two Groube sisters, Chloe and Lola, Ava Henderson and Maya Mateja.
Please click on the link for full results from day one of the Rip Curl Pro Raglan held at Manu Bay today (Saturday 18 March 2023).
The Rip Curl Pro Raglan is the third event of the New Zealand Surf Series with $8,000 prize money on offer. The series heads south after Raglan with events at Dunedin and Christchurch in the next month before returning to Raglan to conclude the season in May.
2023 New Zealand Surf Series Schedule
8-14 Jan – National Surfing Championships, Piha (SNZ3000)
3-4 March – Waveform Surfing NZ Open, Maukatia / Maori Bay (SNZ2000) – Cancelled
4-5 March – Seventhwave Women’s Canterbury Championships, Christchurch (SNZ1000)
18-19 March – Rip Curl Pro Raglan, Manu Bay, Raglan (SNZ3000)
7-10 April – Te Kaika South Island Championship, Dunedin (SNZ1000)
22-24 April – Exit Surf Men’s Canterbury Championships, Christchurch (SNZ2000
May – Backdoor King and Queen of the Point pres by Quiksilver, Raglan (SNZ3000)
For more information on the Rip Curl Pro Raglan please contact Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email email@example.com.
High-resolution images will be available to media upon request. Images will be distributed free of charge.
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Generous support from Rip Curl, Corona and Surfing New Zealand has made this event possible.
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