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10-day surf festival to take off in Taranaki

Stephanie Gilmore © ASP

TSB Bank New Zealand Surf Festival

ASP Women's WCT Event
Fitzroy Beach Taranaki, New Zealand
3 - 7 April 2013

Dow Agro Sciences Pro will bring the ASP Women's WCT to Fitzroy Beach

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 26 March, 2013 : - - The 10-day TSB Bank New Zealand Surf Festival takes off in Taranaki on March 29 with surfing events for Micro-Groms to Masters – and the world’s best women surfers in the Dow Agro Sciences Pro ASP World Competition Tour (WCT) event.

Based at New Plymouth’s Fitzroy Beach, the TSB Bank New Zealand Surf Festival will include the Powerco MicroGroms for all surfers aged under 11, the Hareb Deken MotorGroms competition for boys and girls under 16, as well as the Corona Easter Masters which is celebrating its 21st year as an event.

The Masters will run from March 29-31,the Grom Comp from March 30-31, the MicroGroms on April 1 alongside a Beach Carnival at Fitzroy, and the NZ Women's Open Wildcard Trials will be on April 2 followed by the ASP Women's World Tour event April 3-7.

For event organisers, The TSB Bank New Zealand Surf Festival is a celebration of surfing and New Zealand’s beach culture, says event organiser, Craig Williamson.
“These events are all about helping Kiwi surfers be all they can be – and have a lot of fun doing it,” says Craig.

“Winning the ITL NZ Women’s Open in association with Urban Studio creates a golden opportunity to for up and coming New Zealand surfers to compete against the world’s best women surfers, with the winner going into the Dow AgroSciences Pro as a wildcard entry.”

In the first year of the Festival, 15-year old Sarah Mason won the Open – and then rocked the surfing world when she beat world champion Stephanie Gilmore in her second-round heat, says Craig Williamson.

“Sarah then made it all the way to the semi-finals before being knocked out – an amazing achievement for such a young surfer,” explains Craig. Mason thrived on the experience and her surfing career took off from there, winning the Open again in 2011 and making it onto the World Tour in 2012.

In 2012, it was the opportunity of a lifetime for another young Kiwi surfer when 16-year-old Gaby Sansom won the Open and went on to compete in the Dow AgroSciences Pro.

“These events are all about helping Kiwi women surfers be all they can be,” says Craig. “Last year we created New Zealand surfing history when we had three Kiwis competing in an ASP WCT event for the first time. Coming up against the world’s best means you have to lift your game – and to date that is what we have seen. The question is – who will win the Open this year and what will be their effect in our ASP Pro event? Stay tuned!”

For many, the drawcard event is the Dow AgroSciences Pro where 17 of the best professional women compete in Taranaki as stop number four in the seven-leg ASP Women’s World Championship (WCT) tour.

Aged from 18 to 29, they come from South America, California, France, Hawaii, Australia – and New Zealand with Taranaki’s own Paige Hareb in the lineup. While they all love competing against each other in powerful, progressive surfing – they also love coming to Taranaki, says ASP Women’s World Tour manager, Jessi Miley-Dyer.

“Once again, we’re very excited to bring the world’s best female surfers to Taranaki,” says Jessi – herself a former competitor on the world tour. “Never before have we seen such an unparalleled assemblage of talent on the tour, and pairing them with New Zealand’s great waves has set a fantastic stage.”

As the culmination of the 10-day TSB Bank New Zealand Surf Festival, the Taranaki Women’s WCT event has always provided some real surprises in the three years it has been staged in New Zealand. In the first year, Hawaiian Carissa Moore won the event and astounded everyone with her generosity by donating her US$15,000 prize money to the Waitara Bar Boardriders Club.

In the second year, Carissa was looking strong to win again until Australian Sally Fitzgibbons chose better positioning in the water and took out the title in the final. And last year, Paige Hareb had the home crowd on the edge of their deck chairs as she fought her way to the semi-finals only to be knocked out by the current world champion Stephanie Gilmore who went on to win the event.

It’s a competition that draws crowds to the beach to watch the epic surfing, says event organiser, Craig Williamson from Surfing Taranaki. “With two person heats, there’s always an incredible display of one on one surfing which makes for compelling watching and an exciting atmosphere at the beach,” explains Craig.

“The judges are scoring on five main attributes – commitment and degree of difficulty; innovative and progressive manoeuvers; combination of major manoeuvers; variety of manoeuvers; speed, power and flow. That all adds up to an awesome display of surfing!”

This year the Dow AgroSciences Pro will be staged over a five-day window from April 3 to 7. The main competition arena will be Fitzroy Beach, with Back Beach and Arawhata Rd around the Surf Highway as backup arenas should wind and swell conditions change.

Each morning contest directors make a call around 8am on whether the contest is on or off, or at which arena it will be held. And if you can’t get down to the beach, all details along with live video streaming of the heats can be seen at

During the 10-days of surfing competitions there will also be a range of out of the water community events including a Beach Carnival, a Disabled Surfer’s session, a Surf Photo exhibition, Surf Movies and even a Charity Surfers Ball.

All the events are aimed at engaging the community in our fantastic surf and beach culture – whether you are a surfer or not, says Surfing Taranaki’s president, Mike Hareb.
“And if you are a die-hard surfer and want to socialise with your fellow surfers out of the water – then the Surfers Ball is for you!” says Mike.

Being held at the Devon Hotel’s new conference facilities on Saturday, April 6, the evening will feature a talk with Malibu surfing legend and Big Wednesday move co-script writer, Denny Aaberg.

There will also be live performances from The Blistered Fingers, The Slacks and one of New Zealand’s top contemporary reggae bands, Cornerstone Roots. “It will be a fab social nite – and best of all – any funds raised will go towards Sustainable Coastlines’ environmental and Surfing Taranaki’s junior development programmes,” enthuses Mike.

Source: Surfing Taranaki

Author: Bruce Gatward-Cook

Tags: New Zealand, Women's WCT, ASP Dow AgroSciences Pro,

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