Defending Champions Make Light Work of Early Rounds


Defending National Champions Amiee Brown (Grt Barrier) and Billy Stairmand (Rag) have made light work of their early rounds at the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships being held at St Clair Beach, Dunedin this week.



Above: Amiee Brown / Photo: Cory / NZ Surfing Magazine



On a big day of surfing in 1.0m – 1.5m waves and strong onshore winds, the two surfers advanced to the semifinals and quarterfinals respectively.

Brown posted a ten point heat total out of a possible 20 to advance alongside Zhana Hutchieson (Tara).  The two surfers eliminated one of the pre-event favourites in Elin Tawharu (Mnt) who unsuccessfully battled away against the elements finishing third.

“I was happy with my performance today considering the conditions,” said Brown. 

“I haven’t been feeling well the last couple of days and was sick this morning before my heat so it is good to get it out of the way and have a couple of days free to recover,” said Brown who is tasting the waves of Dunedin for the first time.

Brown said she had not felt any increased pressure as defending champion this year.  “Last year, my win was unexpected and I think this year at Nationals feels no different, it is the same as any other event I attend, I just need to go about my heats in the right way and put in good performances”.

Brown will be joined in the semifinals by 2019 New Zealand Surf Series winner Raiha Ensor (Mnt) who advanced in second place behind local Dunedin surfer Hayley Pascoe.  Pascoe stole the heat win from Ensor in the dying seconds with a nicely surfed lefthander into the corner of St Clair Beach.

Other surfers to advance through to the final eight included New Zealand junior representatives Ava Henderson (Chch) and Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara).  The two surfers represent a big push from the teenagers with over three-quarters of athletes in the Open Women’s Division under the age of 20.  



Above: Billy Stairmand / Photo: Cory / NZ Surfing Magazine



In the Open Men’s Division, Stairmand made easy work of his heat win with a 12.83 point total to advance alongside Tom Robinson (Whngrei).  However, it was another Raglan surfer in Caleb Cutmore that took the highest heat score honours of the day with a 13.37 point heat total.  All up, four Raglan surfers advanced including Taylor Hutchison and Josef Jungwirth.

Dunedin will now pin their title hopes on Elliott Brown after he was the only local surfer to advance out of the second round and into the quarterfinals.  Five of his compatriots were eliminated today but Brown took a comfortable progression behind Whakatane surfer Jack Lee.

Lee was back in action in the afternoon contesting the Under 18 Boys Division where he tasted more success again advancing to the quarterfinals.  The 2019 SNZ Grom Series runner-up will be aiming to top the season in 2020 and gain selection into the New Zealand Junior Surfing Team.

Gisborne’s Finn Vette top scored for the juniors posting 13.3 points in his heat.  Vette has a big week ahead contesting three divisions including his favoured Under 16 Boys Division.

Taylor O’Leary (Mur), Tom Robinson (Whngrei), Navryn Malone (Rag) and Jayden Willoughby (Rag) all advanced to the quarterfinals with impressive performances and have afforded themselves a day off on Wednesday.

The surf is expected to drop further for Wednesday with favourable early morning winds tending northerly in the afternoon.  A number of junior divisions will be in action as will several senior divisions.  The Open Men and Women will have a lay day.  The final day of the event on Saturday will be streamed live via the Sky Sport Next YouTube channel.

Action will take place from 800am on Wednesday morning with confirmation of venue and order of events to be confirmed at 7:00am.  The likely venue will be St Clair Beach.

Please see below for results from day two of the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships held at St Clair Beach, Dunedin today (Tuesday 7th January).

Open Men’s Division Round of 40
Heat 1
Daniel Farr (Tara), 12.87, 1, Jay Piper - Healion (Whiti), 8.70, 2, Luis Southerwood (Whaka) , 7.50, 3, Damian Phillips (Dun), 4.53, 4
Heat 2
Jack Lee (Whaka), 13.00, 1, Elliott Brown (Dun), 10.73, 2, Chris Malone (Gis), 8.34, 3, Sam Sands (Chch), 7.74, 4
Heat 3
Dune Kennings (Whmata), 10.8, 1, Finn Vette (Gis), 9.57, 2, Paul Moretti (Nrthlnd), 7.4, 3, Waretini Wano (Piha), 6.9, 4
Heat 4 
Billy Stairmand (Rag), 12.83, 1, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 9.30, 2, Cassidy Mann (Auck), 7.40, 3, Jack McLeod (Dun), 4.73, 4
Heat 5 
Taylor Hutchison (Rag), 8.96, 1, Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 8.60, 2, Taylor O'Leary (Mur), 6.26, 3, Jack Luke (Tara), 6.13, 4
Heat 6 
Zen Wallis (Piha), 10.97, 1, Tom Butland (Tara), 9.1, 2, Thomas Harcourt (Chch), 8.17, 3, Niwa Ututaonga (Chch), 3.57, 4
Heat 7 
Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 13.37, 1, Elliot Paerata Reid (Piha), 11.93, 2, Kora Cooper (Rag), 6.00, 3, Josh Thickpenny (Dun), 4.80, 4
Heat 8 
Jarred Hancox (Tara), 10.97, 1, Conor McLennan (Chch), 9.57, 2, Harrison Whiteside (ChCh), 8.30, 3, JC Susan (Dun), 4.24, 4


Open Women’s Division Round of 16
Heat 1
Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 9.04, 1, Brie Bennett (Rag), 5.87, 2, Tegen Bishop (Chch), 5.4, 3, Liv Haysom (Piha), 5.27, 4
Heat 2
Hayley Pascoe (Dun), 9.7, 1, Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 8.83, 2, Anna Brock (Mnt), 7.53, 3, Estella Hungerford (Chch), 5.53, 4
Heat 3
Aimee Brown (GB), 10, 1, Zhana Hutchieson (Tara), 8.27, 2, Elin Tawahru (Mnt), 5.83, 3, Natasha Civil (Dun), 3.84, 4
Heat 4
Ava Henderson (Chch), 9.43, 1, Gabrielle Paul (Piha), 7.83, 2, Georgia Wederell (Mnt), 7.37, 3, Ariana Shewry (Oakura), 1.77, 4


Under 18 Boys Division Round of 32
Heat 1
James Millar (Dun), 8.14, 1, Jack McKenzie (Chch), 7.03, 2, Tai Erceg - Gray (Whngrei), 6.77, 3, Cassidy Mann (Auck), 5.97, 4
Heat 2
Tom Butland (Tara), 10.8, 1, Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 10.3, 2, Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Whngtrei), 6.87, 3, Kava Matthews (Tara), 3.87, 4
Heat 3
Navryn Malone (Rag), 12.33, 1, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 12, 2, Reuben Lyons (Kaik), 4.9, 3, Tyler Perry (Kaik), 4.74, 4
Heat 4 
Jack Lee (Whaka), 8.8, 1, Kora Cooper (Rag), 6.6, 2, Thomas Charlesworth (Auck), 6.23, 3, Jai Wallis (Piha), 4.6, 4
Heat 5
Taylor O'Leary (Mur), 12.3, 1, Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 5.33, 2, Dara O'Malley, 3.34, 3, Jackson Peak (Auck), 2.3, 4
Heat 6 
Luis Southwood (Whaka), 8.43, 1, Sam Charlesworth (Auck), 6.93, 2, Myka Black (Chch), 6.56, 3, Jake Owen (Dun), 4.37, 4
Heat 7 
Ruben Peyroux (Dun), 7.76, 1, Jack Luke (Tara), 5.64, 2, Neko Tohiariki (Chch), 5.23, 3, Kahu Kaan (Dun), 2.34, 4
Heat 8 
Finn Vette (Gis), 13.3, 1, Luke Rogers (Dun), 8.13, 2, Bill Byers (Piha), 7.2, 3, Tana Clapham (Rag), 5.63, 4

2020 marks surfing’s debut as an Olympic sport and come July, New Zealand will have at least two athletes competing at the inaugural surfing event in Tokyo.

The Health 2000 National Surfing Championships is the first of several domestic events where Kiwi surfers will get the opportunity to push for selection into the New Zealand Team that will attend the World Surfing Games in May.  Under International Surfing Association (ISA) guidelines, Stairmand and Williams along with Paige Hareb (Tara) and Ricardo Christie (Gis) are automatic selections for the New Zealand Team leaving only one spot each for the men and women.

It is the eighth time the National Championships has been held at Dunedin.  The longest running surfing event in New Zealand takes place over six days from January 6-11.  In the 56 year history of the event the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships has grown to encompass 29 divisions spread across all disciplines and age groups making for a largely inclusive event, filled with high level surfing as well as good times in and out of the water.  Over 280 entries have been received for the event.