By Ben Kennings, Surfing NZ
A forecasted rise in the swell for the penultimate day of the 2017 National Surfing Championships presented by Health 2000 far exceeded sizes anticipated. Swells breaking miles out to sea left surfers having to contend with big reforms on the Piha Bar today (Friday 13th December).
The quarterfinals of the Open Men’s Division bookended the day and by the time they entered the water the swell was peaking in size. However, this did not stop the top seeds from executing excellent heats and advancing to the semifinals.
Those top seeds included Matt Hewitt (Mnt) that opened the quarterfinals with a heat win. Five-time champion Billy Stairmand (Rag) followed suit as did Elliot Paerata – Reid (Piha) surfing in his own backyard.
Time management was vital in the heats as surfers chanced either trying to paddle back out after long rides or reverting to coming ashore and running around the beach and back out the keyhole.
Australian-based Kiwi Trevor Tunnington stole the title in the Men’s Stand Up Paddleboard Division relegating Raglan’s Daniel Kereopa to a third straight runner-up finish.
Tunnington surfed to a 9.13 point total in the final battling massive seas. Kereopa suffered a broken board at the start of the heat that hampered his efforts to secure the title.
By way of their results, both Tunnington and Kereopa secure places in the New Zealand Team which will compete at the World Championships being held during September in Denmark.
Finishing third in the final was Sean Hovell (Gis) with Whangarei surfer Jamie Scott finishing in fourth place.
Earlier in the day, the surfers in the Under 18 Divisions surfed through to the finals of their respective divisions. In the boys division it was three New Zealand team mates that dominated proceedings. Jonas Tawharu (Mnt) surfed to a 16.83 point heat total after scoring a 9.0 point ride on his first wave that he ripped apart across the Piha Bar. In the heat prior, it was Elliot Brown (Dun) that surfed to first place and he was joined by Jared Gebert (Ohope) advancing through to the final.
In the girls division, Gabrielle Paul (Piha) and Saffi Vette (Gis) took wins in their respective heats and they will be joined Tiana – Breeze de Mooij (Mnt) and defending champion Elin Tawharu (Mnt).
The large swell forced the Open Women’s Division and Women’s Stand Up Paddleboard Final to be postponed until the final day of the event.
A call will be made on the order of events at 7am on Saturday morning with a possible 8am start.
Set out below are the results from day six of the 2017 National Surfing Championships presented by Health 2000 held at Piha Beach, Auckland on Friday 13th January.
Open Men’s Division Quarterfinals
Taylor Hutchison (Rag), 11.93, 1, Jonas Tawharu (Mnt), 6.83, 2,, Jarred Hancox (Tara), 6.57, 3, Ben Kennings (Whmata), 3.93, 4
Matt-Lewis Hewitt (Mnt), 13.27, 1, Elliott Brown (Dun), 10.4, 2, Jared Gebert (Ohope), 6.63, 3, Harrison Whiteside (ChCh), 5.13, 4
Elliot Paerata Reid (Piha), 13.17, 1, Manu Scott Arrieta (Sandy Bay), 9.47, 2, JC Susan (Dun), 7.40, 3, Tane Wallis (Piha), 7.10, 4
Billy Stairmand (Rag), 12.73, 1, Sean Peggs (Tairua), 12.1, 2, Zen Wallis (Piha), 11.2, 3, Dune Kennings (Whmata), 10.57, 4
Under 18 Boys Division Semifinals
Elliott Brown (Dun), 14.1, 1, Jared Gebert (Ohope), 13.3, 2, Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 9.3, 3, Dylan Preston (WGM), 8.93, 4
Jonas Tawharu (Mnt), 16.8, 1, Kaya Horne (Mnt), 8.8, 2, Taylor O’Leary (Mur), 8, 3, William Van Der Beek (Mnt), 5.97, 4
Under 18 Girls Semifinals
Gabrielle Paul (Auck), 9.67, 1, Tiana – Breeze de Mooij (Mnt), 6.93, 2, Tegen Bishop (Chch), 5.67, 3
Saffi Vette (Gis), 9.1, 1, Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 5.34, 2, Billie Scott (Whangarei), 4.21, 3
Men’s Stand Up Paddleboard Round 1
Daniel Kereopa (Rag), 10.8, 1, Karlos Aarsen (Whmata), 8.5, 2, Willie Beggs (Auck), 6.7, 3, Gary Smith (Gis), 5.45, 4
Trevor Tunnington (Aus), 11.2, 1, Jamie Scott (Whangarei), 7.8, 2, Oscar Murrell (Auck), 4.43, 3
Sean Hovell (Gis), 9.57, 1, Ollie Houghton (Auck), 8.47, 2, Alan Te Moananui (Kaik), 5.3, 3
Men’s Stand Up Paddleboard Semifinals
Trevor Tunnington (Aus), 11.7, 1, Jamie Scott (Whangarei), 7.07, 2, Karlos Aarsen (Whmata) , 6.53, 3
Daniel Kereopa (Rag), 10.5, 1, Sean Hovell (Gis), 9.73, 2, Ollie Houghton (Auck), 7.47, 3
Men’s Stand Up Paddleboard Final
Trevor Tunnington (Aus), 9.13, 1, Daniel Kereopa (Rag), 5.97, 2, Sean Hovell (Gis), 4.83, 3, Jamie Scott (Whangarei), 4.63, 4
The championships are being held from the 8th – 14th January bringing together New Zealand’s supreme domestic talent to compete over seven days of action.
Over 250 entries have been received for the event. Additional divisions comprise of age groups from Under 14 boys and girls through to Over 60s and also Longboard, Stand Up Paddleboard and Kneeboard disciplines.
Added incentive in the Open Men’s and Women’s Divisions will come in the form of the New Zealand Surfing Team being announced before the end of January. The team travels to France in May to compete at the ISA World Surfing Games.
The National Championships also act as the sole selection event for the SUP Surfing disciplines within the New Zealand Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Team. The team will compete in Denmark during September.