National Championships Opens With Challenging Preliminary Rounds

The top seeds at the 2017 National Surfing Championships presented by Health 2000 were granted a reprieve today with only the preliminary rounds of the Open Men’s Division being contested.

Day one of the event was held at Piha Beach today (Sunday 8th January) and while the top surfers in New Zealand enjoyed a day off, the lower seeds as well as the juniors faced solid 1.5m – 2.0m waves with challenging onshore conditions making wave selection vital to advance.

In the Open Men’s Division it was Dunedin surfer Elliot Brown that stood out advancing to second round where he will meet the top seeds.

Brown, the defending Under 18 Boys Division champion, showed he was more than capable of surfing against the best in New Zealand while also doing double duty contesting the Under 18 Boys Division, surfing a total of three heats during the day.

Brown posted an 11.50 point heat total to advance to the second round in the Open Men’s Division.  He also advanced to the semifinals of the Under 18 Boys Division.

Brown was joined by Taranaki stalwart Jeremy Grainger who advanced to the second round of the Open Men’s Division as did Josh Taylor (Mnt) who is always at home in the big conditions.

Elliot Brown (Dun) surfed through three heats in the Open Men's and Under 18 Boys Division. Photo: Cory / NZ Surfing Magazine.

Taylor meets up with the event favourite Billy Stairmand (Rag) in the main round which is scheduled to take place tomorrow (Monday 9th January).

In the Under 18 Boys Division, Brown posted the highest heat score of the day to advance to the semifinals – a 13.33 point heat total out of a possible 20 points.  He advanced alongside Caleb Cutmore (Ham) who also looked impressive on his forehand while surfing the Piha Bar.

New Zealand representative Jared Gebert (Ohope) used his sharp backhand approach to advance through to the semifinals of the Under 18 Boys Division after two excellent performances.  Gebert was joined by William Van Der Beek (Mnt) and Kaya Horne (Aus) in the winner’s circle of the quarterfinals.

While he surfed through to the semifinals of the Under 18 Boys Division, Horne suffered a shock loss in the Under 16 Boys Division.  The defending champion was left hunting anything that resembled a good wave in his first round match up and was eliminated from the event.  Horne was defeated by Taylor O’Leary (Mur) and Kora Cooper (Rag). 

Also advancing through the first round of the Under 16 Boys Division and winning their heats were Finn Vette (Gis), Tom Robinson (Whangarei) and Jack Lee (Whaka).

William Van Der Beek competing during the first day of the 2017 National Surfing Championships presented by Health 2000 being held at Piha today (Sunday 8th January).  Photo: Cory / NZ Surfing Magazine.

The swell is expected to plateau overnight and decrease throughout Monday.  Conditions are expected to improve slightly and the Open Men’s and Women’s Division will be contested as well as several junior divisions in a full day of surfing.

Set out below are the results from day one of the 2017 National Surfing Championships presented by Health 2000 held at Piha Beach, Auckland today (Sunday 8th January).

Open Men’s Round of 40
Heat 1
Jeremy Grainger (Tara), 11.73, 1, Dixon-Smith, Tom, 6.17, 2, Jack Rosewarne (Ham), 4.10, 3
Heat 2
Elliott Brown (Dun), 11.50, 1, Keone Campbell, 7.93, 2, Tom Norton (Waipu), 5.83, 3, Storm Carroll, 5.67, 4
Heat 3
Henry Hawke (Chch), 2.00, 1, Zane Hicks (Ocean Beach), 1.00, 2, Craig Snook, N/S
Heat 4 Joshua Taylor, 8.90, 1, Joel Clegg (Tara), 7.37, 2, Chad Dowsett (Whangarei), 7.33, 3

Under 18 Boys Round 1
Heat 1
Dylan Preston (WGM), 2, 1, Shane Kraus (Piha), 1, 2, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), N/S
Heat 2
Jared Gebert (Ohope), 9.88, 1, Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 8.77, 2, Joseph Critchfield (Mangawhai), 0, 3
Heat 3
Luke Griffin (Mnt), 11.83, 1, Conor McLennan (Chch), 7.13, 2, Thomas Dixon - Smith (Gis), 4.2, 3, Cody Lucas (Piha), 3.8, 4
Heat 4 
Elliott Brown (Dun), 12.93, 1, Joel Clegg (Tara), 7.83, 2, Jamahl Moselen (Whangarei), 6.77, 3
Heat 5 
Jonas Tawharu (Mnt), 12.4, 1, Jack Lee (Whaka), 6.67, 2, Lockie O'Connor (Mnt), 4.5, 3
Heat 6 
Lee Ririnui (Mnt), 13.33, 1, Kaya Horne (Mnt), 9.37, 2, Tom Norton (Waipu), 7.57, 3
Heat 7 
Sam Sands (Chch), 8.63, 1, Reiki Ruawai (Rag), 3.53, 2, Jack Rosewarne (Ham), 2.87, 3
Heat 8 
Taylor O'Leary (Mur), 10.3, 1, William Van Der Beek (Mnt), 9.73, 2, Max Brunker (Whangarei), 5.43, 3

Under 18 Boys Quarterfinals
Heat 1
Jared Gebert (Ohope), 9.33, 1, Dylan Preston (WGM), 9.13, 2, Joel Clegg (Tara), 8.83, 3, Conor McLennan (Chch), 4.63, 4
Heat 2
Elliott Brown (Dun), 13.33, 1, Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 11.83, 2, Shane Kraus (Piha), 8.03, 3, Luke Griffin (Mnt), 7.87, 4
Heat 3
William Van Der Beek (Mnt), 9.43, 1, Jonas Tawharu (Mnt), 8.57, 2, Reiki Ruawai (Rag), 7.07, 3, Lee Ririnui (Mnt), 3.83, 4
Heat 4
Kaya Horne (Mnt), 8.93, 1, Taylor O'Leary (Mur), 8.13, 2, Sam Sands (Chch), 6.5, 3, Jack Lee (Whaka), 2.93, 4

Under 16 Boys Round of 24
Heat 1
Finn Vette (Gis), 10.9, 1, Tom Butland (Tara), 9.83, 2, Jack Rosewarne (Ham), 7.13, 3, James Ririnui (Mnt), 6.9, 4
Heat 2
Taylor O'Leary (Mur), 11.83, 1, Kora Cooper (Rag), 9.6, 2, Kaya Horne (Mnt), 7.43, 3, Tom Taylor (Orewa), 2.43, 4
Heat 3
Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 11.6, 1, Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 10.9, 2, Luis Aruquipa Southerwood (Whaka), 6.2, 3, Manawa Ruru (Gis), N/S
Heat 4  
Jack Lee (Whaka), 9.33, 1, Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 9.27, 2, Cassidy Mann (Auck), 6.53, 3, Michael Thomas (Auck), 4.2, 4

Below is a schedule of events for the remaining six days of the event with surfing being held from 8am – 4pm daily.

Day 2 – Addition of women’s divisions and kneeboard
Day 3 – Addition of men’s senior age group divisions
Day 4 – Addition of longboard divisions
Day 5 – All above divisions
Day 6 – Addition of SUP Divisions
Day 7 – All divisions plus SUP Race

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 200 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 Norway during September.