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Clash of the Kiwis as Rip Curl Pro rolls at Manu Bay

Bobby Hansen © Steve / Kiwi Surf


Rip Curl Pro
Presented by Nature Valley

Surfing New Zealand
Manu Bay, Raglan New Zealand
16 - 18 March 2012

Top Ranked Surfers Hansen and O'Conner Mark Up Against Each Other Early At The Rip Curl Pro

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 16 March, 2012 : - - The two top ranked surfers on the New Zealand Pro Series marked up against each other in their first appearance at the Rip Curl Pro presented by Nature Valley held at Manu Bay, Raglan with Bobby Hansen (Gis) getting the early advantage over Tim O'Connor (Mnt), both surfers moving through to the Quarterfinals.

After differing forecasts leading into the event, New Zealand's top surfers enjoyed a clean 1.0m swell at Manu Bay that pulsed throughout the day keeping everyone happy. The size was enough to see a massive day of surfing take place with three rounds of the Open Men's Division and a round of the Under 20 Men's Division completed.

Hansen surfed to a 16.90 point heat total in his heat finding the good set waves and going vertical on hid backhand. Tim O'Connor was close second scoring 16.13 with the two surfers eliminating Ben Poulter (Rag) and Ryan Hawker (Piha).

"Yeah, we met up pretty early, it is good, I love surfing against Bobby" said number one ranked O'Connor. "It is good for the rivalry, it will be a good race to the finish, so hopefully the best surfer wins" he added.

O'Connor has been based at Raglan for over four months surfing the famous lefthand point breaks and was stoked to see how good it was today claiming it was "kinda as good as it gets." The local surfers stormed through the third round led by Luke Hughes who knows the break better than anyone. His sharp surfing and big vertical backhand hooks were unrivalled as he went on to win his heat with a 14.07 point heat score.

Likewise Mike Banks surfed three heats today to move through to the quarterfinals posting one of the highest single wave scores of the day - 9.45 out of a possible 10 points. Other locals to move through were luke Cederman, Larry Fisher and Chris Malone.

One of the standout waves of the day went to Sandy Bay surfer Paco Divers who posted a near perfect 9.67 point ride on his first wave of the heat. Unfortunately the remainder of the 20 minutes did not go his way and in search of a small five point ride, Divers ran out of time and was eliminated from the event.

Gisborne surfer Johnny Hicks continued his good run of form moving though to the quarterfinals of the event with a 15.93 point winning heat total. Hicks has only returned from Australia this week after placing fifth at an ASP Australasia Pro Junior event at Newcastle. Prior to that result he was the form surfer at the last stop of the New Zealand Pro Series held at his home break of Gisborne winning the Under 20 Division which he was due to contest early this evening.

Conditions are expected to hold for much of Saturday which may allow for the event to be completed in the first two scheduled days.

The Kiwi Surf/Hughes Surfboards 'Boost For Cash' will take place on Saturday. This will be an expression session in which New Zealand's best aerialists will use jet ski assistance to perform one big move to walk away with $500. See how you too, can win a brand new Hughes surfboard by picking your preferred winner of the expression session.

The Rip Curl Pro will include the Saturday night gathering at the YOT Club thanks to Stoke Beer and Jagermeister as well as the highly popular Sunday Session again at the YOT Club after the finals have been contested.

The Rip Curl Pro is a six star rated event with $12,500 in prizes on offer.


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Source: Surfing New Zealand

Author: Ben Kennings /

Tags: New Zealand, Rip Curl, Raglan, Surfing New Zealand

Contests: Surfersvillage



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