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Two Ends of the Spectrum Get Their Chance at National Championships

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Surfers spread across three generations got their chance to participate at the 2023 National Surfing Championships yesterday (Tuesday 10th January) with the elder statesman of the New Zealand surfing community in the Over 60s being joined by the youngest of participants in the Under 14 Divisions.

Sixty seven years separated the oldest from the youngest with 1975 National Champion Ben Hutchings (Gis) taking part in the Over 60 Men’s Division and the young Lennox Lindsay (Whngrei), all of nine years old taking part in the Under 14 Boys Division.

The two surfers were among many who took on the small but clean waves of up to 1.0m at Auckland’s Piha Beach.  Despite the storm warnings, the day panned out well despite the intermittent rain and drizzle that rolled in and out along the West Coast.

The Under 14 Boys Division was contested through to the final six surfers as the new season ushered in some amazing talent.  Four of the six semifinalists are Bay of Plenty’s best with Sol Fritchley, Remy Sale, Lennox Holdaway and Vitor Kokemper being joined by Raglan’s Luca Thompson and Ahipara’s Taj Phillips.  In the Under 14 Girls Division it was the busy Lola Groube (Pau) and Alani Morse (Rag) that that shone with the two surfers being joined by Piha duo Poppy Arkle and Kyra Wallis.

In the Under 16 Divisions Alexis Owen (Dun) and Tava Santorik (Mnt) continued their domination of the event in the boys being joined by local surfer Christian Fougere, Manu Roberts (Tai) and Soren Bucka – Christensen (Tara) in the winners circle.  For the girls it was Chloe Groube (Pau) and Leia Millar (Piha) that were joined by the younger Lola and Alani who won their second round of match ups.

In the senior divisions it was Raglan’s Rick Lasch that dominated his two divisions surfing to a 17.25 point heat total in the Over 50 Men’s Division to advance through to the quarterfinals and a 12.25 point heat total in the Over 55 Men’s Division.  His smooth backhand surfing suited the clean righthand bank as he wrapped turn after turn on the set waves.

Darren Kiwi (Mnt) and Morgan Cronin (Auck) followed suit in the Over 50 Men’s Division with strong performances to win their heats.

Raglan surfers enjoyed further success in the Over 55 Men’s Division with Geoff Hutchison and Phil Willoughby getting the wins.  Clinton Ashill (Whgrei) also surfed a good heat finishing in second behind Hutchison to advance to the semifinals.

The Volkswagen x Skinnies Highest Heat Score Award went to Sol Fritchley in the Under 14 Boys Division surfing to a 17.5 point heat total in the Under 14 Boys Division.

Day four sees the addition of the longboard divisions and the start of the Over 30, 40 and 45 Men’s Divisions.

As expected, the surf has turned to a messy wind swell off the back of Cyclone Hale.

The 2023 National Surfing Championships commences the domestic NZ Surf Series, NZ Grom Series and NZ Longboard Series with fifteen events scheduled around the country this summer.

Over 440 entries have been received for the event.  It is the fifteenth time the event has been held on the West Coast of Auckland.  A total of 29 divisions are contested at the event including the premier Open Men and Women plus additional divisions comprising of age groups from Under 14 boys and girls through to Over 60s for males and females and Longboard, Stand Up Paddleboard, Bodyboard, Kneeboard and adaptive disciplines.  Action will take place from 8am – 5pm daily.

The event would not be possible without the support of the following partners: Sport NZ, Volkswagen, Skinnies, Better Beer and Arepa.  The 2023 National Surfing Championships is proudly hosted by Keyhole Boardriders.

Daily schedules, live scores and results are available via www.liveheats.com/surfingnz.

Schedule of events (earliest possible day to commence divisions):

Wednesday 11th January – Above divisions plus longboard and SUP divisions
Thursday 12th January – Above divisions plus bodyboard
Friday 13th January – Above divisions plus kneeboard
Saturday 14th January – All divisions

Further Information
For further information on the 2023 National Surfing Championships please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

High resolution action images of the surfing will be available to media free of charge upon request.

Social Media
Keep up with all the action by following @surfingnz on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  Use the hashtag #Nats2023 to follow the story.

Surfing New Zealand is proudly partnered by:

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