SNZ Update - February 2017
It was an early start to the international season for the Kiwi groms competing on the WSL Australasian Pro Junior Series with New Zealand’s best missing the National Championships held at Piha early last month.
Above: Mt Maunganui surfer Kehu Butler. Photo: WSL
The campaign started well for Mount Maunganui’s Kehu Butler who surfed to an impressive semifinal finish and third place at the first Subway Pro Junior event held at Bells Beach, Victoria. Kehu backed up that result with another good performance at the second event held at Cronulla where he finished fifth. Both occasions Kehu has looked in top form with high scoring heats but has fallen just short to the finalists.
Kehu sits in a career-high fourth place overall on the junior rankings.
Butler has been joined at the Pro Juniors by Daniel Farr and Tane Bowden as well as Kea Smith and Raiha Ensor in the girls divisions. Tane’s best result to date is a 17th at Bells Beach with Daniel finishing both events in 33rd. Raiha and Kea finished their only Pro Junior event held at Cronulla, in 17th place.
The next Pro Junior event is on the 11th of February and that is followed by an event in early March.
Kehu’s sharp surfing flowed over into his first Qualifying Series event of the year, The Carve Pro QS1000, where he finished 13th overall as the highest placed Kiwi, not a bad result for the young 16-year-old.
Billy Stairmand / Ricardo Christie
After securing his sixth national title at Piha, Billy Stairmand teamed up with Ricardo Christie on the Gold Coast in the build up to their first international event of 2017. The two surfers started out strong competing at the Flight Centre Burleigh Pro QS1000 last weekend, together finishing 9th equal. Elliot Paerata – Reid, McKenzie Bowden and Korbin Hutchings were all eliminated in the early rounds of the event.
Paige Hareb dominated her Burleigh competition for the Kiwi girls placing third, narrowly missing out on a finals berth. In her own words, the close loss was ‘hard to swallow’ but the good early form will see her head into the second QS1000 event, starting this week at Cabarita, with a world of confidence.
Ella Williams placed ninth at the Burleigh Pro and will also compete this week at the NSW Pro as will Billy, Ricardo, Elliot, McKenzie and Kehu.
There is one further QS1000 event in New South Wales before the first major qualifying event of the year the QS6000 Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota Pro at Merewether which starts on the 20th February.
You can follow all the action via the WSL website – www.worldsurfleague.com