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Kiwi National Surfing Champs kick off at St. Clair Beach

Billy Stairmand © Mark Stevenson



Billabong National Surfing Champs
Presented by Health 2000

Surfing New Zealand
St Clair Beach, Dunedin New Zealand
11 - 17 January 2016

Dunedin Welcomes New Zealand’s Top Surfers With Stunner of a Day

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 11 January, 2016 - St Clair Beach, Dunedin turned it on for New Zealand’s top surfers on day one of the 2016 Billabong National Surfing Championships presented by Health 2000 today.

A clean 1.5m – 2.0m swell and light winds greeted surfers this morning with event favourites excelling in the pristine conditions. A trio of 2015 finalists took early round honours led by defending champion Billy Stairmand (Rag) and Mount Maunganui surfer Alex Dive, both surfers posting 15.50 points out of 20.

Stairmand is going for a hat-trick of wins in the Open Men’s Division, a feat not completed since 1987.  Meanwhile Dive is challenging for his first win after with his best result coming last year when he placed third.

Four time champion Maz Quinn (Gis) completed the trio of 2015 finalists advancing out of his first heat in first place.  Quinn has an early match up with Stairmand in the quarterfinals which are likely to be held on Tuesday.

Other surfers to post heat wins included Jordan Griffin (Mnt), Matt Hewitt (Mnt), Sean Kettle (Tara), Cain Aldridge (Tara), Keone Campbell (Tara) and Dunedin’s own JC Susan who was also a day one stand out.

Ella Williams (WGM) was the top performing surfer in the Open Women’s Division winning the last heat of the round.  Despite a strong cross-shore wind developing in the afternoon, Williams surfed to an excellent heat total, advancing to the semifinals.  She will now face off against defending champion Gabriella Sansom (Auck) and her sister Bianca in the semifinals along with young Taranaki stand out Zhana Hutchieson.

Britt Kindred (Mur) and Kea Smith (Mnt) were two other heat winners in the first round and will match up against each other in the semifinals.

Late in the afternoon, surfers in the Under 18 Boys Division took to the water looking for a place in the semifinals.  Jonas Tawahru (Mnt) and Daniel Farr (Tara) used their international competitive knowledge to advance in the tricky conditions. 

Moss Thompson led the way for the strong contingent of Christchurch surfers winning his heat and advancing to the semifinals alongside Sam Sands who placed second.

Conditions are expected to be good for day two of the event with the swell remaining solid at 1.5m and light winds forecast.  Day two marks the first day that the senior men’s divisions are contested as well as the younger boys and girls divisions.

The championships are being held from the 11th – 16th January, the primary venue being St Clair Beach.  It is the first time in five years that the event has been staged in the South Island and it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the host club South Coast Boardriders Association who are based at St Clair Beach. 2016 marks the seventh time the event has been held at Dunedin.

In the 53 year history of the event the Billabong National Championships presented by Health 2000 has grown to encompass 21 divisions spread across all disciplines and age groups making for a largely inclusive event filled with high level surfing as well as good times in and out of the water. 

Over 200 entries have been received for the event.  The senior men’s divisions start from Tuesday with the Longboard taking place from Wednesday and Stand up Paddleboard plus Kneeboard taking place from Thursday.

Billabong National Surfing Champs, New Zealand, Kiwi, Billy Stairmand, Nationals, Champs, Contests
Ben Kennings

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