Rip Curl Pro Raglan - NZ Richest Surf Event This Weekend
The previous postponement of the Rip Curl Pro presented by Corona has fallen comfortably into the laps of defending champions Billy Stairmand (Rag) and Ella Williams (WGM) who are now available to contest New Zealand’s richest surfing event this weekend.
The Rip Curl Pro presented by Corona takes place at Raglan’s Manu Bay on Saturday and climaxes on Sunday with the finals. Previous event dates had Stairmand and Williams weighing up returning from Australia where they were competing on the World Qualifying Series. Now the two will enjoy the chance to defend their titles, Williams for a sixth straight time and Stairmand gunning for his third straight.
The surf conditions are expected to be good on Saturday with a clean 1.5m swell which will fade into Sunday for the finals.
Aside from the defending champions in attendance, the Rip Curl Pro presented by Corona has attracted the largest field of surfers this year with a near-capacity line up.
Above: Six-time defending champion Ella Williams - Photo: Cory / NZ Surf Mag
After winning the second event of the New Zealand Surf Series, The Barrett Homes Surf Open, Maz Quinn (Gis) has made the decision to give this weekend’s event a shot, the pumping Raglan waves always an attraction for previous event champion not to mention the $15,000 in prize money up for grabs.
Quinn is joined by ratings leader and local standout Taylor Hutchison who will be eager to keep his position at the top of the rankings. With a pair of semifinals finishes this year, Hutchison will have his sights firmly on a finals berth come Sunday.
Other surfers in the Open Division looking for a big result will be runner up at the most recent event, Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch), Luke Cederman (Rag) who has placed first and second and the two most recent events held at Raglan and Daniel Farr (Tara), a finalist in 2018 who has been making a slow return from injury this summer.
In the Women’s Division, Raglan import and National Champion Aimee Brown will be keen to back up her performance in Taranaki. Brown has finalled at both events contested this year and currently leads the rankings.
Saffi Vette (Gis) makes a return to the domestic scene after spending much of summer competing in Australia. Vette leads the charge for a young field of surfers where the average age is only 20 years old. Despite the young nature of the draw, all of the up and comers will have to be wary of the like of talented local mother Jessica Santorik and Whangamata’s Grace Spiers, both two-time previous event champions.
The Rip Curl GromSearch finals will take place this weekend as well where four young males and females vie for a chance to represent New Zealand at the international final. Local grom Kora Cooper will lead the way in the Boys Division and he will be up against Myka Black (Chch), Tom Robinson (Whgnrei) and Jack Lee (Whaka). In the Girls Division, it is another local surfer in Brie Bennett that faces off against Estella Hungerford (Chch), Georgia Wederell (Mnt) and Hannah King (Gis).
The Saturday night Corona after party will take place at Isobar in Raglan township.
The Rip Curl Pro is the first of four straight legs of the National Series with rankings set to change considerably over the next month after the series frequents Dunedin, Christchurch and then returns to Raglan. See below for the remaining four events of the series.
Emerson’s South Island Championships, Dunedin – 19 – 21 April
Exit Surf Men’s Canterbury Championships, Christchurch (mobile) – 26-28 April
Backdoor Oceanbridge Manu Bay Pro, Raglan – 3-5 May
Backdoor BayBash, location TBC – 16-17 November
The Rip Curl Pro will be broadcast live via Sky Sport 2 on Sunday from 10:30am – 3:00pm. A replay of the broadcast will be shown on the same channel from 9pm Sunday night.
For the first time in domestic surfing, the TAB is offering odds on the event. Check out your favourite surfers here - https://www.tab.co.nz/sports/category/266/all-surfing/matches
The provisional draw can be viewed here - http://www.surfingnz.co.nz/event-enter-calendar/
Please see below for current ratings on the New Zealand Surf Series plus the previous winners of the event.
Open Men’s Division
1, Taylor Hutchison (Rag)
2, Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch)
3, Billy Stairmand (Rag)
4, Callum Chuter (Mnt)
4, Dune Kennings (Whmata)
6, Jarred Hancox (Tara)
7, Caleb Cutmore (Ham)
8, Ricardo Christie (Mahia)
9, Jack Lee (Whaka)
10, Alex Dive (Mnt)
Open Women’s Division
1, Aimee Brown (GB)
2, Raiha Ensor (Mnt)
3, Gabrielle Paul (Piha)
4, Billie Scott (Whangarei)
5, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara)
6, Lily McDonald (Te Aroha)
7, Saffi Vette (Gis)
8, Georgia Wederell (Chch)
9, Ella Williams (Whmata)
10, Laura Griffin (Mnt)
Open Men’s Division
2018, Billy Stairmand (Rag)
2017, Billy Stairmand (Rag)
2016, Maz Quinn (Gis)
2015, Maz Quinn (Gis)
2014, Ricardo Christie (Gis)
2013, Sean Peggs (Tai)
2012, Bobby Hansen (Gis)
2011, Billy Stairmand (Rag)
2010, Morehu Roberts (Rag)
Open Women’s Division
2018, Ella Williams (WGM)
2017, Ella Williams (WGM)
2016, Ella Williams (WGM)
2015, Ella Williams (WGM)
2014, Grace Spiers (WGM)
2013, Wini Paul (Sandy Bay)
2012, Jessica Santorik (Rag)
2011, Grace Spiers (WGM)
2010, Jessica Santorik (Rag)
Complete event write-ups, results, surfer ratings and images from the event can be viewed at Surfing New Zealand.