A full afternoon of surfing at Piha saw eight titles awarded at the 2017 National Surfing Championships presented by Health 2000 as the seven-day event heads toward the final stages.

The surf was the smallest of the week with a 1.0m swell and light variable winds for much of the day making a pleasant change from the relentless westerly winds experienced over the first three days.

While eight titles were awarded, the premier divisions of the Open Men’s and Women’s endured another lay day as organisers eye up a significant swell on the final two days of the event.

Kora Cooper claimed Raglan’s first title at the event in the Under 14 Boys Division.  Paired up against good mate Jayden Willoughby, also of Raglan, the two surfers went wave for wave on their backhand Cooper coming out on top with a 10.60 point heat total.  Willoughby finished in second place ahead of Myka Black (Chch) in third and defending champion Tom Robinson (Whangarei) in fourth.

Raglan’s Brie Bennett claimed the first ever title for the Under 14 Girls Division which was introduced this year.  Bennett had a week-long tussle with Ava Henderson (Chch) and got the advantage in the final surfing to an 11.84 point heat total.  Henderson fought hard but had to settle for second place overall ahead of Natasha Gouldsbury (Levin) in third and Alice Westerkamp (Auck) in fourth.

Today, a fifth title came the way of Thomas Kibblewhite (Red Beach) in the final heat of the day when he claimed the Men’s Longboard Division after surfing to a 13.87 point heat total.

Kibblewhite has come off a long term injury that saw him sidelined for much of 2016.  He only entered the water for the first time since the injury in late December but today he did not look like he missed a beat defeating defending champion Zen Wallis (Piha) in the final.

Phil Morris (Auck) made a comeback to the competitive arena to place third in the final ahead of Henry Hawke (Chch) in fourth.

Mischa Davis (Piha) was a class above her competitors in the Women’s Longboard Division taking an easy victory.  It is the second title Davis has claimed in the division after winning the Open Women’s and Women’s Longboard double in 2013.  Today, Davis defeated Kea Smith (Mnt) who finished second, Brit Kindred (Mur) in third and Donna Henderson (Chch) in fourth.

Local Piha surfers Garry Pike and David Storck claimed titles in the Over 55s and 60s Divisions, the oldest divisions contested at the event.  Pike was a standout using his local knowledge to post an 8.5 point ride for one wave that he rode the length of the South Piha beach.  Pike outpointed Phill Griffin (Mnt) in the final, Griffin going close on one wave which scored an 8.0 point ride to almost knock Pike off his perch.  However, Griffin had to settle for second ahead of Jack Griffith (Auck) in third and David Storck (Piha) in fourth.

Storck had a better performance in the Over 60s Division surfing to a tightly contested win over Mike Trainer (Auck) in second, Clive Barron (Piha) in third and Rupert Newbold (Ocean Beach) in fourth.

Christchurch secured the first of two titles in the Over 30 Women’s Division when late entrant Donna Henderson surfed to victory.  Henderson, mother of Under 14 Girls Division runner up, Ava Henderson, defeated Stephanie Leece (Piha) who finished runner up, Margurite Vujcich (HBay) in third and Gina Kennings (WGM) in fourth.

The second Christchurch title came via Sam Sands (Chch) who defended his Under 18 Boys Longboard Division title.  Sands defeated Tom Butland (Tara) who finished second with Cody Lucas (Auck) in third and Ethan Kelland (Auck) in fourth.

The swell is expected to remain the same size for tomorrow (Thursday 12th January) with a 1.0m swell.  However the wind is forecasted to swing to the northwest and increase throughout the day offering deteriorating conditions.  A call on the order of events will be made at 7am with a possible 8am start.

Set out below are the results from day four of the 2017 National Surfing Championships presented by Health 2000 held at Piha Beach, Auckland today (Wednesday 11th January).

Under 16 Boys Semifinals

Heat 1
William Van der Beek (Mnt), 13.55, 1, Dylan Preston (Whmata), 12, 2, Tom Butland (Tara), 7.37, 3, Kora Cooper (Rag), 5.6, 4

Heat 2
Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 10.7, 1, Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 10.1, 2, Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 9.33, 3, Luke Griffin (Mnt), 8.73, 4

Under 16 Girls Semifinals
Heat 1
Gabrielle Paul (Auck), 7.03, 1, Estella Hungerford (Chch), 5.1, 2, Brie Bennett (Rag), 5.07, 3, Georgia Wederell (Mnt), 4.6, 4

Heat 2
Saffi Vette (Gis), 9.37, 1, Tegen Bishop (Chch), 5.77, 2, Stella Smith (Gis), 5.43, 3, Natasha Gouldsbury (Levin), 4, 4

Over 30 Women’s Final
Donna Henderson (ChCh), 7.47, 1, Stephanie Leece (Piha), 5.47, 2, Margurite Vujcich (Hbay), 4.23, 3, Gina Kennings (Whmata), 3.1, 4

Over 40s Division Final
Heat 1
Alan Te Moananui (Kaik), 8.83, 1, Kevin Stanley – Hunt (Auck), 5.63, 2, Jhan Gavala (Auck), 3.63, 3, Andrew Robinson (Auck), N/S

Heat 2,
Ben Kennings (WGM), 11.5, 1, Mike Mulcahy (Piha), 8.61, 2, JP Knight (Piha), 6.07, 3, Andrew Mann, 4.57, 4

Heat 3
Marc Moore (Auck), 123.5, 1, Deane Hishon (Rag) , 8.6, 2, Justin Bambery (Auck), 7.7, 3, Chris Fougere (Piha), 4.93, 4

Over 55s Division Final
Garry Pike (Piha), 11.5, 1, Phil Griffin (Mnt), 10.5, 2, Jack Griffith (Auck), 7.1, 3, David Storck (Piha), 3.43, 4

Over 60s Division Final
David Storck (Auck), 5.43, 1, Mike Trainer (Auck), 4.87, 2, Clive Barron (Piha), 4.5, 3, Rupert Newbold (Ocean Beach), 3.93, 4

Men’s Longboard Round 1
Heat 1
Hugh Ritchie (Chch), 7.53, 1, Justin Bambery (Auck), 6.83, 2, Paul Halford (Mnt), 5.63, 3, Michael Gray (Auck), 4.43, 4

Heat 2
Zen Wallis (Piha), 14.13, 1, Phillip Morris (Auck), 11.77, 2, Sean Hovell (Gis), 5.63, 3, Cory Wood (Piha), 3.23, 4

Heat 3
Thomas Kibblewhite (Auck), 15.6, 1, Henry Hawke (Chch), 7.5, 2, Tane Wallis (Piha), 7.17, 3, Rupert Newbold (Ocean Beach), 4.93, 4

Men’s Longboard Semifinals
Heat 1
Zen Wallis (Piha), 14.4, 1, Phillip Morris (Auck), 13.9, 2, Justin Bambery (Auck), 8.77, 3

Heat 2
Thomas Kibblewhite (Auck), 10.3, 1, Henry Hawke (Chch), 9.93, 2, Hugh Ritchie (Chch), 7.9, 3

Men’s Longboard Final
Thomas Kibblewhite (Auck), 13.9, 1, Zen Wallis (Piha), 11.7, 2, Phillip Morris (Auck), 11.2, 3, Henry Hawke (Chch), 7.87, 4

Women’s Longboard Semifinals
Heat 1
Kea Smith (Mnt), 8.17, 1, Mischa Davis (Piha), 7.87, 2, Kiri Binnersley, 4.83, 3, Estella Hungerford (Chch), 2.63, 4

Heat 2
Britt Kindred (Mur), 6.53, 1, Donna Henderson (Chch), 4.6, 2, Gabi Paul (Piha), 4.43, 3, Margurite Vujcich (Hbay), 3.2, 4

Women’s Longboard Division Final
Mischa Davis (Piha), 9.33, 1, Kea Smith (Mnt), 6.5, 2, Britt Kindred (Mur), 5.43, 3, Donna Henderson (Chch), 2.17, 4

Under 18 Boys Longboard Division Final
Sam Sands (Chch), 8.23, 1, Tom Butland (Tara), 7.93, 2, Cody Lucas (Auck), 4.5, 3, Ethan Kelland, 2.17, 4

Under 14 Boys Division Final

Kora Cooper (Rag), 10.6, 1, Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 9.4, 2, Myka Black (Chch), 9.3, 3, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 8.27, 4

Under 14 Girls Division Final
Brie Bennett (Rag), 11.8, 1, Ava Henderson (Chch), 8.47, 2, Natasha Gouldsbury (Levin), 4.77, 3, Alice Westerkamp (Auck), 2.13, 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.

Image courtesy of Cory / NZ Surfing Magazine. — at Piha Beach


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