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School Surfing Descends Upon Gisborne

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Two national surfing events descend on Gisborne from this weekend with the Primary School Champs and the Scholastic Champs taking place over seven days starting Saturday (7th October).

The two-day Sticky Johnson Primary School Champs presented by Skullcandy kicks off the action on Saturday.  The event follows on from the GromLab four-day surf programme run by Gisborne Boardriders Club during the first week of the school holidays.

The Primary School Champs sees groms from the length of the country participating, many of whom are competing nationally for the first time.

The user-friendly event sees keen youngsters compete three times in a round robin format before the top-ranked surfers face off in finals.

This is the third consecutive year the event has been held at Gisborne with Northern Makorori offering up excellent conditions in the past and forecasted to do so again this weekend.

Many of the top-ranked surfers from 2016 have progressed onto the Scholastic Championships being held later in the week but two 2016 finalists return in the girl’s divisions – Levin’s Natasha Gouldsbury and Christchurch surfer Ava Henderson.  Both girls have competed nationally throughout 2016 and will bring that experience to the event in search of a win at Gisborne.

Several of the boys participating have also contested events around the country this year and they will go head-to-head as favourites for a title this weekend.  They include Navryn Malone (Rag), Dara O’Malley (Chch), Jai Wallis (Piha) and Ollie Holland (Rag) as well as a raft of new faces participating.

2016 champion in the Year 6 and Below Boys, Campbell Heasley (Chch) and runner-up Jack McKenzie (Chch) move up a division this year leaving the title open for 24 fresh surfers in the youngest division.  This year also includes a Year 6 and Below Girls Division for the first time.

Following on from the weekend is the National Scholastic Championships which commence on Monday morning.

Eleven regional teams have confirmed their attendance at the event and are hoping to topple the mighty Taranaki Team who stormed to victory for the first time in 2016.

Taranaki will go into the five-day event as one of the hot favourites alongside last year’s runner-up Auckland.  However, the return of a full-strength Bay of Plenty Team will have their opponents concerned, the Bay team comprising five current New Zealand representatives.

Bay of Plenty has been victorious five times this decade and the region continues to churn out top-ranked junior surfers.

The host Gisborne Team will be fronted by New Zealand representative Saffi Vette who this week returned from competing at the World Junior Championships in Japan placing an excellent eleventh overall.

In total, nine of the twelve New Zealand Junior Surfing Team members will be competing at Gisborne next weekend representing their regional teams.

Gisborne’s Stella Smith will revert back to her shortboard at the Scholastics after recently placing seventh in the Women’s Division of the ISA World Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championships in Denmark.

Three teams have travelled north from the South Island with Canterbury looking to maintain a podium position after placing third in 2016.  Otago will field their strongest team in recent years and West Coast/Tasman make a return to the event this year with eleven team members competing.

Teams will compete for overall team points as well as individual titles in seven age groups and disciplines.

Please see below for past champion teams and individuals.

Champion Teams
2010 – Bay of Plenty
2011 – Gisborne
2012 – Bay of Plenty
2013 – Bay of Plenty
2014 – Bay of Plenty
2015 – Bay of Plenty
2016 – Taranaki

Under 18 Boys
2010 – JC Susan (BOP)
2011 – Ben Poulter (Wai)
2012 – Jules Craft (Gis)
2013 – Elliot Paerata – Reid (Auck)
2014 – Jordan Griffin (Mnt)
2015 – Taylor Hutchison (Wai)
2016 – Daniel Farr (Tara)

Under 16 Boys
2010 – Sean Kettle (Tara)
2011 – Adam Grimson (Gis)
2012 – McKenzie Bowden (Coro)
2013 – Manu Scott – Arrieta (Nrthlnd)
2014 – Daniel Farr (Tara)
2015 – Daniel Farr (Tara)
2016 – Elliott Brown (Ota)

Under 14 Boys
2010 – Te Rapai Barbarich-Love (Tara)
2011 – Harrison Whiteside (Chch)
2012 – Manu Scott – Arrieta (North)
2013 – Daniel Farr (Tara)
2014 – Connor McLennan (Cant)
2015 – Dylan Preston (Coro)
2016 – Jack Lee (BOP)

Under 18 Girls
2010 – Grace Spiers (WGM)
2011 – Kristi Zarifeh (Chch)
2012 – Ella Williams (Coro)
2013 – Gabriella Sansom (Auck)
2014 – Dayna Story (Gis)
2015 – Dayna Story (Gis)
2016 – Britt Kindred (Auck)

Under 16 Girls
2010 – Ella Williams (WGM)
2011 – Jayda Martin – Fitzharris (Gis)
2012 – Bianca Sansom (Auck)
2013 – Jasmine Smith (Gis)
2014 – Raiha Ensor (BOP)
2015 – Zhana Hutchieson (Tara)
2016 – Saffi Vette (Gis)

Under 14 Girls
2010 – Gabriela Sansom (Auck)
2011 – Jasmine Smith (Gis)
2012 – Abby Falwasser – Logan (Gis)
2013 – Raiha Ensor (BOP)
2014 – Zhana Hutchieson (Tara)
2015 – Kai Woolf (Gis)
2016 – Stella Smith (Gis)

Under 18 Longboard
2010 – Luke O’Neill (Chch)
2011 – Sam Poulter (Wai)
2012 – Hone Douglas (BOP)
2013 – Luke O’Neill (Cant)
2014 – Jake Morgan – Kemp (Auck)

2015 – Jake Morgan – Kemp (Auck)
2016 – Matt Newdick (Auck)

Adam Clegg Most Improved Surfers
2013 – Ben McCulloch (Gisborne)
2014 – Andrew Fraser – MacKenzie (BOP) and Britt Kindred (Auck)
2015 – Riccardo Lucibella (Tara) and Zhana Hutchieson (Tara)
2016 – Elliott Brown (Ota) and Saffi Vette (Gis)

The events are supported by Gisborne Boardriders, Sticky Johnson and Skullcandy.

For more information on these events please contact Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

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