Team surfing returned to the shores of Aotearoa today with the 2022 National Scholastic Surfing Championships playing host to eleven regional teams from around the country.
The five-day event is being held along the Taranaki coastline this year and today it was the younger of the team members that got the event underway at Back Beach located just south of New Plymouth.
The day kicked off with small but building waves under the 1.0m mark and light onshore northerly winds which persisted all day.
The defending champion Canterbury Team got their campaign off to a great start with all surfers advancing through their opening heats. They were led by Rakiatea Tau, Poppy Entwisle and Lachlan Noakes who all won their heats, Entwisle surfing to a 14.40 point heat total, the highest of the females on Day 1. The team has their sights set on a solid title defence this year with several team members shaping as strong title contenders across the eight divisions being contested.
The local Taranaki Team had a mixed bag of results with several team members advancing. However, they also suffered a couple of defeats with the likes of Spencer Rowson being relegated to the requalifying rounds.
Rowson will have a chance to re-join the main round if he advances out of the requalifying round he contests tomorrow. His teammates that performed well included Kai Shearer, Jordie Luke, Kalani Watts and Soren Bucka – Christensen.
The dominant Bay of Plenty Team saw a first up outstanding performance from Caelan Pitkethly on the longboard along with Tao Mouldey and Tava Santorik, the two latter who were victorious at the O’Neill Taranaki Grom Comp held over the weekend. If any team is to upset Canterbury’s title defence, the Bay will be up for the challenge.
The Auckland Team is led by captain Nat Fitt who won his opening heat in the Under 18 Boys Longboard Division. Fellow teammate Will Hardie was another of their team to advance through a close heat today.
“I had a close, not that much of a performance but good to get through” commented Hardie. Our team has done pretty well today, and it has been good to hang out with the team and support one another as a team. This event is different to usual events where you are kind of there on your own with your family competing as an individual” he added. Hardie will be one of many that have their eyes on a building swell that looks likely to peak on Wednesday.
Day Two of the event (Tuesday 11th October) will see the Under 18 Boys Division enter the water for the first time along with several requalify rounds where the first surfers will be eliminated from the event. The swell is expected to build throughout Tuesday but the weather is also expected to deteriorate.
The National Scholastic Surfing Championships has been held since 1989. The event, which has unearthed two generations of top Kiwi talent, takes place along the Taranaki coastline from 10 – 14 October.
The event comprises eight age group divisions for males and females across both shortboard and longboard disciplines. Twelve regional teams from throughout the country contest the event with eleven teams in attendance in 2022 vying for both individual titles as well as the overall team title. Canterbury is the defending champion at the event having won the event in home waters in 2020.
Over 110 surfers are participating at the event in 2022 after having qualified to represent their twelve person teams via a series of regional events held during winter months.
The 2022 National Scholastic Surfing Championships is sanctioned by Surfing New Zealand, Secondary School Sport NZ. The event is made possible with the support of Pub Charity. The event is supported by the New Zealand Sports Collective, Whakaata Maori, Caltex, Bayleys, Apollo Projects, Pure Athletic and NZ Carbon Farming.
For more information on the National Scholastic Surfing Championships, please contact Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @surfingnz across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for all the action from the event.
High resolution images from the event will be available to media upon request.
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