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Solid Surf Tests Kiwi Women’s Best

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A solid West Coast swell marched up the country on day two (Monday 7th January) of the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships testing New Zealand’s top female athletes as they entered the water for the first time.


As the swell tripled in size throughout the day to a solid 2.0m, the likes of defending champion Raiha Ensor (Mnt) found herself in a position of battling the ocean more than her opponents to kick off her title defence.


Ensor advanced through her first match up in a low-scoring affair but it was two ex-champions that shone in the tough conditions advancing in first place with big scoring totals.


Whangamata surfer and 2014 Champion, Grace Spiers, posted a 13.0 point heat total while Mount Maunganui surfer Laura Griffin, who won her title in 2010, posted a 12.47 point heat total.


Spiers comes up against a tough round two match up with defending champion Ensor as well as Gisborne’s rising star Saffi Vette who will want to get one back on Spiers come the next time they enter the water.  Their heat also includes New Zealand Junior Representative Estella Hungerford (Chch).


Griffin sees herself match up against New Zealand representative Elin Tawharu (Mnt) and winner of the two most recent New Zealand Surf Series events Aimee Brown (Grt Barrier).  Taranaki’s most promising junior Natasha Gouldsbury joins the three surfers in the quarterfinal after also advancing through two junior rounds today in a marathon effort.


The third quarterfinal sees 2015 champion Gabriella Sansom (Mur) being the hot favourite as she faces three young surfers in Zhana Hutchieson (Tara), Ariana Shewry (Tara) and Ava Henderson (Chch).


In the Junior Girls Divisions it was Saffi Vette that top scored in the Under 18 Girls with a 16.88 point heat total, and Brie Bennett (Rag) posting a 12.4 point heat total in the Under 16 Girls.


The only boys to get in the water on day two were the Under 16 Boys Division which was contested through to the semifinals.  Local surfer Tom Butland was always going to be a force and today he proved his point in the big surf with a 15.03 point heat total after attacking the waves with no fear.  Butland will now match up against Tom Robinson (Whangarei) who himself looked sharp as he surfed to a 14.63 point heat total in his quarterfinal.


Christchurch surfer James Millar smoothly advanced through to the semifinals after two heat progressions and will be up against Finn Vette (Gis) and Navryn Malone (Rag).

The Senior Men’s and Women’s Divisions will be introduced to the event on day three (Tuesday 8th January).  The surf is expected to remain in the 2.0m range with strengthening southwest winds.

See below for results from day two of the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships held at Stent Road, Taranaki today (Monday 7th January).

Open Women’s Division Round 1
Heat 1

Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 7.6, 1, Estella Hungerfrd (Chch), 7.1, 2, Lily McDonald (Te Aroha), 3.87, 3, Lee Orton (Whngrei), 2.27, 4
Heat 2
Grace Spiers (Whmata), 13, 1, Saffi Vette (Gis), 9.6, 2, Gabrielle Paul (Piha), 9.5, 3, Brie Bennett (Rag), 7.67, 4
Heat 3
Gabriella Sansom (Auck), 11.77, 1, Ava Henderson (Chch), 10.7, 2, Tiana-Breeze de Mooij (Mnt), 6.87, 3, Georgia Wederell (Chch), 1.4, 4
Heat 4
Ariana Shewry (Oakura), 9.87, 1, Zhana Hutchieson (Tara), 8, 2, Tegen Bishop (Chch), 7.2, 3, Heather Easterbrook (Whngrei), 2.87, 4
Heat 5
Elin Tawahru (Mnt), 10.4, 1, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 7.53, 2, Billie Scott (Whangarei), 4.87, 3, Thandi Tipene (Tara), 3.4, 4
Heat 6
Laura Griffin (Mnt), 12.47, 1, Aimee Brown (GB), 11.67, 2, Bianca Sansom (Auck), 8.6, 3, Jess Nicholson (Auck), 2.6, 4

Under 16 Boys Round 1
Heat 1

Kora Cooper (Rag), 13.83, 1, James Millar (Chch), 10.23, 2, Jack McKenzie (Chch), 6.33, 3, Kava Matthews (Tara), 6.33, 4
Heat 2
Jack Hinton (Mnt), 11.1, 1, Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 9.37, 2, Ethan Wray (Tara), 9.3, 3, Will Hardie (Piha), 2.73, 4
Heat 3
Navryn Malone (Rag), 11.1, 1, Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 10.53, 2, Jackson Peak (Auck), 8.43, 3, Jai Wallis (Piha), 7.27, 4
Heat 4
Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 11.87, 1, Jacob Buckle (Whngrei), 10.26, 2, Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Sandy Bay), 2.93, 3, Shay Wells (Tara), 1.83, 4
Heat 5
Tom Butland (Tara), 12.6, 1, Jacob Saunders (TGA), 11.7, 2, Jack Tyro (Chch), 6.87, 3, Ben Storey (Rag), 5.3, 4
Heat 6
Finn Vette (Gis), 12.23, 1, Luke Rogers (Chch), 6.8, 2, Bill Byers (Piha), 5.6, 3, Karne Gabbott (Dun), 4.67, 4

Under 16 Boys Quarterfinal
Heat 1

James Millar (Chch), 12.03, 1, Kora Cooper (Rag), 10.54, 2, Jack Hinton (Mnt), 9.37, 3, Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 8.47, 4
Heat 2
Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 14.63, 1, Navryn Malone (Rag), 11.94, 2, Jacob Buckle (Whngrei), 9.53, 3, Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 7.14, 4
Heat 3
Tom Butland (Tara), 15.03, 1, Finn Vette (Gis), 13.06, 2, Jacob Saunders (TGA), 9.14, 3, Luke Rogers (Chch), 4.9, 4

Under 18 Girls Division Round 1
Heat 1

Saffi Vette (Gis), 16.44, 1, Brie Bennett (Rag), 10.17, 2, Liv Haysom (Piha), 7.84, 3, Leah Wilson (Chch), 6.73, 4
Heat 2
Gabrielle Paul (Auck), 10.16, 1, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 9.07, 2, Tegen Bishop (Chch), 4.57, 3
Heat 3
Georgia Wederell (Mnt), 10.76, 1, Estella Hungerford (Chch), 7.17, 2, Ariana Shewry (Tara), 7.1, 3, Amarnie Barber (Aus), 5.7, 4

Under 16 Girls Division Round 1
Heat 1

Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 10.84, 1, Amarnie Barber (Aus), 8.9, 2, Ariana Shewry (Tara), 7.54, 3, Daizee Rawles (Gis), 2.43, 4
Heat 2
Brie Bennett (Rag), 12.4, 1, Ava Henderson (Chch), 8.93, 2, Amelie Wink (Chch), 1.73, 3
Heat 3
Leah Wilson (Chch), 11.67, 1, Liv Haysom (Piha), 10.57, 2, Asia Braithwaite (Gis), 9.34, 3, Anna Brock (Mnt), 8.64, 4

The longest running surfing event in New Zealand takes place over seven days from January 6-12 along the Taranaki Coastline.  The event was last contested in the Taranaki region in 2007 and has been held in the region on nine other occasions.

In the 55 year history of the event the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships has grown to encompass 29 divisions spread across all disciplines and age groups making for a largely inclusive event, filled with high level surfing as well as good times in and out of the water.  Over 330 entries have been received for the event.

The Health 2000 National Surfing Championships forms the first leg of the 2019 New Zealand Surf Series which in turn provides a vital pathway toward the ISA World Surfing Games, a key Olympic qualification event in 2019.

Below is the schedule of events taking place with surfing being held from approx. 8am – 4pm daily.

Day 1 – Open Men, Junior Boys divisions
Day 2 – Addition of Women’s divisions
Day 3 – Addition of Men’s senior age group divisions
Day 4 – Addition of Longboard divisions
Day 5 – Addition of SUP and Bodyboard Divisions
Day 6 – Addition of Kneeboard
Day 7 – All divisions

Further Information
For further information on the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships 2019 please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

Event Hotline
The Surfing New Zealand event hotline is 0211134506.  This will be updated daily at approximately 7am with venue, divisions contested and conditions.

Social Media
Keep up with all the action by following @surfingnz on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.  Use the hash tag #H2KNats2019 to follow the story.

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