Have you ever won a New Zealand National Title before? (If so, what was it?)
As in an NZ nationals title, no I’ve never won a title before. I’ve had other event wins throughout my junior career, but this was my first at the nationals.
Any comps this year that you hope to repeat your success in?
All of them I guess haha. But yea any event that gets run this year, the goal will definitely be to win it!
What are a few of your surfing goals for 2022?
The main goal will be to win the SNZ series, and get the top seed spot going into next year. But also just generally improving my surfing, and trying to push the limits in the air and in progressive maneuvers.
How does it feel to be the National champion at the Westport Nats in 2022, has it sunk in yet?
Honestly I think it’s still setting in a bit, I’m not used to the attention and media it brings… It’s definitely a great feeling though! It means more than just the title or the cup. It’s unreal to think that my name will be etched into NZ surfing history amongst the other incredible people who have won the cup.
Did you do any training coming up to the nationals, anything you did different from your normal routine?
Other than mental training and getting into comp mode, not really. I was just doing my normal casual gym routine and surfing as much as I could, the rest of the time I was at work.
Going into the final did you feel pressure to win, were you nervous?
Can’t say I felt any pressure really, I think myself and the Taranaki crew all had hope that I would win instead of pressure or expectation. Nerves were definitely there, it’s a bit daunting coming up against the best surfing in NZ in most the heats, but theres ways to deal with the nerves and turn them into positive thoughts, and that’s exactly what I did
What was going through your head as you paddled out for the final, did you have a plan?
Basically I had a plan to separate myself from the other competitors and find some good waves and then build up my scores from there, as in get two 6s and then try do something special and improve upon those 6s.
When the final hooter went how did you feel, did you know that you had just won a national title?
After the hooter went I had no idea what to think, I was totally in the dark about if Billy got the score or who had the title… but when we got to the sand and Gavin read out Billy’s last score, I was in shock for a second then realised what was going on and absolutely lost it haha. That was definitely the most emotion and energy I had felt in a long time and I’m so thankful that I was around a bunch of amazing people from my home region when we found out.
Anyone you would like to thank?
There’s way too many people I need to thank! Firstly will always be my parents, I wouldn’t be the man I am today without them and their endless support and love, then obviously my sponsors for continuously supporting me throughout my career. The crew at SNZ for putting events on for us and doing an incredible job! Everyone from the community at home in the Naki, and everyone from around the country and the world who has helped me and supported me in any way since the start of my career. Nui te aroha to you all
What did you think of Westport, will you be back?
Tell ya what it was a mission getting there! But it was well worth the trip, the place is really beautiful. From the small town and friendly locals to Tauranga bay and 9 mile, it was a great place to be for a while and will definitely be back at some point. West coast is the best!!
What was your favourite thing about the Westport Nationals in 2022?
Just being around people from my home town was my favourite part. All of us making the journey down ,free surfing together, hanging out at the beach and having that feeling of a solid community was awesome! It definitely made the event a lot more special being with the Naki locals the whole time.
Lastly, Will you be back to defend your title in 2023?
100% I will be back to Nats next year. Iv got a title to defend now!