Hawkes Bay Set to Host Final Surf Event of 2018


The New Zealand surfing community is anxiously awaiting the final day of surfing at the Vans World Cup in Hawaii tomorrow (Friday) where it is expected that Ricardo Christie will requalify for the 2019 World Tour.  

A little closer to home, New Zealand based surfers will have to interrupt their road trip east to the Hawkes Bay and catch Christie in action before continuing on to the final domestic event of the year – the Backdoor BayBash.

The New Zealand Surf Series title is on the line this weekend in both the Men’s and Women’s Divisions with good results from the front runners in both, expected to affect the year-end rankings.

Piha surfer Zen Wallis currently leads the Men’s Division but will be sweating on the results of his New Zealand teammates Levi Stewart (Waihi Beach) and Billy Stairmand (Rag) who sit in second and third respectively. Both surfers are capable of catching Wallis with a good result in what is expected to be small surf conditions.

Stewart can take home the series title with a win this weekend eliminating all other scenarios. 


Above: Luke Griffin, Waimarama beach. Photo: COL/SURF2SURF.com



Stairmand only needs a runner-up finish to take matters into his own hands and defend his 2017 series title.  Stairmand will look favourably on the Backdoor BayBash after winning the 2017 edition held at Te Awanga in December last year. 

Meanwhile, Wallis will need a win and other results to go his way to claim his first New Zealand Surf Series title, his previous best ranking being a third in 2016.

In the Women’s Division, an absence of the top ranked surfer and National Champion, Raiha Ensor (Mnt), means a win by Aimee Brown (Great Barrier) will see her jump to the number one ranking and take home the title.

Brown claimed her first Open Women’s Division win earlier this year at the Backdoor Oceanbridge Manu Bay Pro held at Raglan so she is certainly capable of another win this weekend.

Brown finds herself in a similar position in the Under 18 Girls Division where she sits in second needing a win this weekend and a third placed finish by current rankings leader Tegen Bishop (Chch) to finish on top in what is shaping up to be a big two days of surfing for the Aucklander.  A runner-up finish by Bishop will be enough to see her hold on to the New Zealand Grom Series title.

The Under 18 Boys Division has become a two-horse race with Caleb Cutmore (Rag) out in the lead over Conor McLennan (Chch).  A win by McLennan and a seventh place finish by Cutmore could see the rankings flip after this weekend.

Kora Cooper (Rag) has an unassailable lead in the Under 16 Boys Division leaving this weekend’s event for bragging rights amongst a stacked field of young surfers.

This is the fifth year the Backdoor BayBash has taken place.  The event includes six divisions with the Men’s and Women’s premier divisions being supported by the New Zealand Grom Series Under 18 and 16 age groups.

Action will take place from 8:00am – 4:00pm on Saturday and Sunday with a call on the event venue made first thing each morning.  Given the swell forecast, the event will most likely be held at Waimarama Beach. 

Please see below, current New Zealand Surf Series and New Zealand Grom Series standings.

Open Men’s Division
1, Zen Wallis (Piha)
2, Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch)
3, Billy Stairmand (Rag)
4, Taylor Hutchison (Rag)
5, Luke Cederman (Rag)
6, Nick White (Mnt)
7, Elliot Paerata Reid (Piha)
8, Elliott Brown (Dun)
9, Conor McLennan (Chch)
10, Dune Kennings (Whmata)

Open Women’s Division
1, Raiha Ensor (Mnt)
2, Aimee Brown (GB)
3, Georgia Wederell (Chch)
4, Elin Tawahru (Mnt)
5, Tegen Bishop (Chch)
6, Brie Bennett (Rag)
7, Billie Scott (Whangarei)
8, Ella Williams (Whmata)
9, Gabriella Sansom (Auck)
10, Saffi Vette (Gis)

Under 18 Boys Division
1, Caleb Cutmore (Ham)
2, Conor McLennan (Chch)
3, Jared Gebert (Ohope)
4, Shane Kraus (Piha)
5, Tom Norton (Waipu)

Under 16 Boys Division
1, Kora Cooper (Rag)
2, Myka Black (Chch)
3, Tom Robinson (Whngrei)
4, Jack Lee (Whaka)
5, Josef Jungwirth (Rag)

Under 18 Girls Division
1, Tegen Bishop (Chch)
2, Aimee Brown (Auck)
3, Kea Smith (Arataki)
4, Tiana - Breeze de Mooj (Mnt)
5, Georgia Wederell (Mnt)

Under 16 Girls Division
1, Brie Bennett (Rag)
2, Estella Hungerford (Chch)
3, Georgia Wederell (Mnt)
4, Hannah King (Gis)
5, Anna Brock (Mnt)