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Title Defense for Stairmand While Williams Returns

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New Zealand’s two surfing Olympians were crowned champions at the Backdoor King and Queen of the Point presented by Quiksilver today (Saturday 23rd July).  Billy Stairmand (Rag) snatched a come-from-behind victory in the Men’s Division while Ella Williams (WGM) took the win in a tough two-way tussle in the Open Women’s Final.

With the swell expected to decrease further with a strengthening easterly wind, it was decided to push through to the finals of each premier division on day two of the event leaving the junior divisions for the final day of event tomorrow (Sunday).

Stairmand’s win came at the expense of three fellow Raglan surfers and none more so than Caleb Cutmore who led until the final minute of the final.

On his final wave, Stairmand posted a 6.47 to edge past Cutmore 14.30 to 14.00 for the win.

“I think as competitive surfers, that is the type of the win you dream of, knowing you can get the win and surfing a clutch wave to just get the score” said Stairmand of the outcome.

“Caleb has been training and surfing so well and Kora is the up and comer from Raglan and of course Luke rips but yeah, I am stoked to take the win” Stairmand added in reference to his opponents performances.

Stairmand is hoping to take this momentum into the US Open of Surfing which starts on Sunday week.

“I have been doing well in the regional events but unfortunately not so much in the Challengers, so it is time to put my best foot forward and hopefully get a result at Huntington Beach then head to Europe for the back half of the year.  Huntington is a wave I like to compete at, and I did fairly well there last year so I am looking forward to next week” added Stairmand.

Cutmore came oh so close in the final surfing with superior speed on his forehand and posting the only excellent ride of the final, an 8.0 point ride.  However, that was not enough to stop Stairmand.  Day one’s form surfer Luke Cederman finished the final in third place ahead of the youngest competitor, 18-year-old Kora Cooper in fourth.

Earlier in the day, Stairmand and Cutmore defeated Jay Quinn (Gis) in first semifinal while Cederman and Cooper defeated Jarred Hancox (Tara) in the second.

Ella Williams came back from a twelve month break from the competition arena to find her best form in the final today, surfing to a 15.76 point heat win defeating local surfer Brie Bennett (14.40) in the final.

“I am so happy, it is great to be back and competing in good waves and to come away with the win for the weekend is amazing, I am so stoked” said Williams.

Williams has not put on the coloured jersey since the Tokyo Olympics.  “The last twelve months away from competing has been good, I have had plenty of family time and I have been free surfing a lot and being at home more often than not, putting away the suitcase, it has been refreshing” said Williams.

Bennett pushed Williams all the way in the final with Estella Hungerford (Chch) finishing in third and Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara) in fourth.

“A good finals challenge is what makes comps fun, it is what makes it good for the spectators too, having a close match up.  All the finalists were surfing great all weekend and Brie was especially pushing me in that final, she knows the wave well and I am happy to get the win today, next time she will be knocking on the door again I am sure” added Williams.

The MR Twin Fin Expression Session went down in small but running lefts with eight surfers taking the opportunity to ride the classic Mark Richards twin fins.  Whitianga surfer Jay Piper – Healion showed the most poise on the retro boards to walk away with his height in Workshop Beer.  Jay was pushed to the final wave of the 30 minutes by wildcard Simon Fritchley and the lone female of the eight, Elin Tawharu.

The finals of the Men’s and Women’s Divisions were flanked by several rounds of junior divisions.  Standouts included Soren Bucka-Christensen (Tara), Ash Rogers (WGM), Navryn Malone (Rag) and Kalani Louis (Tara) in the boys divisions.  In the girls divisions Maya Mateja (Rag), Alani Morse (Rag) and Chloe Groube (Pau) all showed good form heading into Sunday.

The location of the final day of action will be confirmed first thing on Sunday morning.  The easterly is forecast to strength all day with only a small swell predicted.  The final rounds of the Under 20 and Under 16 Divisions will be completed.

The Backdoor King and Queen of the Point pres by Quiksilver is an SNZ3000 event and boasts $15,000 in prize money as the richest event of the year and with maximum national ranking points on offer.

For all results and the schedule for remaining heats, please visit – https://liveheats.com/events/29714

For more information on the Backdoor King and Queen of the Point presented by Quiksilver, please contact Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

Generous support from Backdoor Surf Shop, Quiksilver, Channel Island Surfboards and Sticky Johnson have made the event possible.  The event is hosted by Raglan’s Point Boardriders.

High resolution images will be available to media upon request. Images will be distributed free of charge.

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