National Primary School Championships
Surfing New Zealand
Fitzroy Beach, New Zealand
16 November 2013
Paige Hareb guest judges top Kiwi groms at Fitzroy Beach
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 18 November, 2013 - Kiwi groms from all over the country had a blast at Fitzroy Beach, New Plymouth on Saturday with local surfer Tom Butland taking out the boys title and Elin Tawharu the girls at the 2013 National Primary School Champs.
In traditional grommet fashion the youngsters spread their boards and gear far and wide across the grounds of the New Plymouth Surfriders Club, most staying in their wetsuits from the commencement of the event early in the morning until well into the afternoon.
The surf suited many early in the morning with a small 0.5m swell and light winds allowing everyone the chance to get out the back of the line-up and pick off set waves when they came through.
Contestants were treated to a guest appearance from local legend Paige Hareb who judged the surfers throughout the day as well as signing posters for them and posing for photos with the future surf stars of the country.
The entry-level surfing event for intermediate and primary school surfers attracted a swath of keen groms from all over the country, some entering surfing events for the first time while others were more experienced gunning to take out top honours.
It was the local New Plymouth surfer Tom Butland that impressed all day racking up high scores on his way to the final eventually going on to win out over his three fellow finalists.
In a low scoring battle in less than desirable low tide conditions, Butland posted an 8.83 point heat total edging out his three opponents. He read the conditions and line-up better than everyone all day, catching the mid-sized waves that peeled off allowing him to complete his smooth forehand top turns.
Mount Maunganui surfer James Ririnui, also a division stand out at the age of nine years old placed runner up to Butland with a 7.17 point heat total. Ririnui did enough to hold off Auckland surfers Taylor O’Leary and Connor Seaman who were not far behind, both contesting their first national level final.
With surf conditions being so small it was no surprise the four finalists were some of the smaller contestants in the event, their light frames helping them skip across the waves at Fitzroy Beach.
In the Girls Division it was the experience of Elin Tawharu (Mnt) and Kea Smith (Mnt) that proved too valuable in the final with the surfers finishing first and second respectively. Tawharu edged out Smith by just over a point scoring 10.67 points out of a possible 20 in the final. The two surfers, obviously inspired by the presence of Hareb, showed good power in their turns despite the small conditions and both would have been equally at home in the boys division.
Local surfers Zhana Hutchieson and Ariana Shewry finished in third and four positions. Surfers as young as six years old took part in the event, competing against surfers double their age, having just as much fun taking part, hanging out and learning from their peers.
The event was hosted by Surfing Taranaki with the support of Beach Street Surf Shop and Sticky Johnson.
Tom Butland (Tara), 8.83, 1, James Ririnui (Mnt), 7.17, 2, Taylor O'Leary (Muriwai), 6.67, 3, Connor Seaman (Auck), 4.87, 4
Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 10.67, 1, Kea Smith (Mnt), 9.6, 2, Zhana Hutchieson (Waitara), 5.7, 3, Ariana Shewry (Tara), 3.83, 4