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Billabong Pro at Whangamata sees big scores first day


Kierin Van Der Helder : photo NZ Surfing Magazine


Billabong Pro

Corona Crown Series
Whangamata New Zealand
6 - 8 March 2009

Whangamata Bar Dishes Up Huge Scores On Day One

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 5 March, 2009 : - - Day one of the Billabong Pro was relocated to ‘The Bar’ at Whangamata today (Friday 6th March) to capitalise on the big swell hammering the East Coast of the North Island.  New Zealand’s top surfers relished the chance to surf one of the best breaks in New Zealand while competing and locked in big scores on the long running left hand waves.

The Billabong Pro was held in 1.0m – 1.5m waves that were relatively clean considering the storm that is buffeting the country at present.  The headland sheltered the waves to make for near glassy conditions throughout the day.

Raglan’s Mike Banks transferred his polished forehand attack from the points of Raglan to Whangamata with amazing success.  The goofy-foot surfer surfed to a perfect ten-point ride in the second round of the event (15.0 point total) to move through to the third round alongside Zen Wallis (Piha) and tomorrow he will meet up with the top seeds of the event.

Banks surfed with great speed and attacked the lip of every wave through big amounts of spray wit big risk. Earlier in the day Banks also surfed to the highest heat score of the event to date 16.5 points out of a possible 20.  He goes into day two as the leader for the Pacific Blue Highest Heat Score Award which sees the winner wining their way to anywhere in the Pacific or Australia.

“Yeah there are pretty good waves out there today” commented Banks “I was lucky to get a few real good ones but I wasn’t the only surfer to score highly, AJ Matthews (WGM) got some bombs and some of the other goofy footers were surfing good too”

Banks will face current national champion Matt Hewitt (Mnt) in the third round as well as 2008 national champion Jay Quinn (Gis) and the surfer he rated highly on day one AJ Matthews in what is looking like the match up of the round.

“Yeah I am keen to take down a few people tomorrow… end a few of the boys runs.  I haven’t been doing too many events this year due to injury and a bit of timeout with my family, so it is good to get back in the ring so to speak… I hope my run continues a little longer yet” commented Banks.

Like Banks, Simon Deken (Tara) was another late entry into the event.  Deken surfed two high scoring heats today to move through to the final 32 surfers.  He posted heat scores of 14.00 and 13.85 in his heats.

“It was all a big rush for me this morning, I realised I wasn’t in the event so I raced down to the beach and head straight out for my heat not really knowing what the conditions were like” commented Deken.  “There was a bit of a wobble on it but it was pretty good really”.

Deken bases himself out of Oakura Beach in Taranaki and even though his last few surfs have been out at Stent Road – a long righthander, nothing seemed to get in Deken’s way of progressing through two rounds of the Billabong Pro today.

Saturday will see Deken surf against winner of the last Corona Crown Series event Billy Stairmand (Rag) as well as Paco Divers (Sandy Bay) who is currently ranked third on the Corona Crown Series.

“Yeah, I mean again it just comes back to wave selection and tomorrow will be no different.  I am looking forward to matching up with those guys tomorrow having already had two heats under my belt” said Deken of his third round match up.

Local Whangamata surfers had a mixed bag of results with Dan Scott being the standout moving through to the third round winning his heat with a score of 13.65.  Braedon Williams also moved through to the third round placing second in his heat behind Tairua surfer Sean Peggs.  However fellow Whangamata surfers not progressing past Round 2 were Blake Myers, Carl Arsene, Lynden Kennings, Dune Kennings and Chris Speedy.

Number one seed at the event and local boy Gauranga Ormond will face a trio of Mount Maunganui surfers in the third round.  Mark Dovey, Tim O’Connor and Nick White will all want to knock the number one seed from the top perch.  Day two of the Billabong pro is likely to be held back at the main arena on the beach of Whangamata.

Number two seed Maz Quinn (Gis) faces New Zealand representatives Zennor Wernham (Rag) and Buck woods (Gis) along with Tane Wallis (Piha), the youngest surfer remaining in the event at 14-years-old.

The Billabong Pro marks the last of the Corona Crown Series events before the top rated surfers are invited to the Corona Super 16.  Being a six-star event with over $12,000 in prize money up for grabs, the event has a lot resting on it in terms of qualification for the final event of the year.

Saturday night sees the Corona After Party take place at the Palms Tavern, an annual on the calendar of extra mural functions around the Corona Crown Series.

The event is proudly sponsored by Billabong, Corona, Kustom, Von Zipper, MTV, Pacific Blue and Panasonic.

Previous reports:
# 1 : Billabong Pro readies for take two at Whangamata, NZ

# 2 :
Coming soon
# 3 :
Coming soon
# 4 :
Coming soon





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