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More upsets Day 5 of New Zealand National Champs

Billy Stairmand © PhotoCPL


2012 Hyundai National Surfing Championships

Surfing New Zealand
Piha Beach, Auckland
15 - 21 January 2012

Stairmand Holds On while Defending Champion Exits National Surfing Champs

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 19 January, 2012 : - - One by one the top ranked surfers in New Zealand have exited the 2012 Hyundai National Surfing Championships but it is Raglan surfer Billy Stairmand that has progressed through to the final of the Open Men's Division in search of his second national title. Day five of the seven day event was contested in the smallest conditions to date this week with at best a 1.0m swell and light onshore winds.

The Open Men's Division was contested early in the morning to capitalise on the full tide and light offshore land breeze. Stairmand, ranked 79th in the world, was the smallest of the eight semifinalists and made easy work of the conditions posting a 16.84 point total heat score. His flare on both his forehand and backhand showed international quality with an edge that few New Zealand surfers have and he now goes into the final as the favourite.

"I don't see myself as the favourite" Stairmand was quick to retort when asked about the tag. "I will go in to the final confident for sure, but I don't see myself as favourite" he added. "My boards are good at the moment and I will focus on not trying to be nervous but I know when Saturday comes, the nerves will start to kick in."

Stairmand will have a day off on Friday (20th January) where he hopes to "sleep in a bit" before maybe heading over the hill to Auckland to catch a movie and then perhaps a late surf in the afternoon.

Stairmand progressed alongside Matt Hewitt (Mount) who posted the highest single wave score of the day - 8.93 out of 10 for a long lefthander that he punctuated with a tail high backhand air reverse. The wave catapulted him from third into second place ahead of Bobby Hansen (Gis).

Unfortunately for Hewitt, he had to fly out to Australia this afternoon to prepare to compete at the World Pro Junior Champs which start on Saturday and he will miss the final.

"I had a decision to make and unfortunately I will miss the final of the nationals here. I got the invite to the World Pro Junior confirmed yesterday and I cannot pass up that opportunity. It is tough" said Hewitt who was happy to get some heats under his belt here before competing in Australia against an international field."

It was Tim O'Connor that kept alive the hopes of Bay of Plenty when he won the second semifinal and in doing so eliminated defending champion Jay Quinn. O'Connor has looked sharp all week and today was no different in the small waves, similar to what he is used to at home. "Yeah it is my first national final, stoked man, can't believe it" O'Connor said. "I heard Matt has to bail, so it is good that at least one Mounty got through."

"I have dreamed of a national title since I was a kid competing seeing Maz Quinn and those guys all win titles, it is something (the trophy) that I really want to grab the handles of and tick it off the list."

O'Connor progressed through to the final alongside Chris Malone who scored a 6.0 point ride on his last wave to pass Quinn and make yet another national final. Malone, 35, is an ex-national champion having won the Open Men's Division 14 years ago in 1998.

For Quinn, it will be a case of having to wait for at least another year to pick up his third title. Quinn was philosophical about the loss this morning. "The ocean just disappeared on us" said a dejected Quinn. A bit of consistency from the ocean would have been nice."  Now out of the event, Quinn pointed toward Stairmand and O'Connor looking good to take out the title.

The Open Women's Division final takes on an old versus new look with local surfer Mischa Davis (Piha) and Thandi Durham (Tara) taking on 16 year olds Ella Williams (WGM) and Jayda Martin - Fitzharris (Gis). Davis, 23 and Durham, also 23 surfed well in the semifinals to eliminate Grace Spiers (WGM), Davis scoring an 8.17 on one right-hander where she belted out four backhand turns in succession. Durham held on to her second placing despite a late charge from Spiers.

Williams and Martin - Fitzharris eliminated Jessica Santorik in their semifinal with Williams again the stand out surfing with speed and flow in the tricky conditions.

Williams was runner up in 2011 when the event was held in Dunedin and a win on Saturday will see her become one of the youngest winners in the 50 year history of the event.

First thing in the morning the Under 18 Boys Division was also whittled down to the final four surfers. Local knowledge played a big part in advancing with Tane Wallis and Elliot Paerata - Reid, both Piha locals, moving through their semifinal match up. Wallis top scored with 14.37 to win his semi while it was Ben Poulter (Rag) who got the best waves in the first semifinal scoring 13.33 to advance alongside Dune Kennings (WGM).

Conditions for day six are expected to be average with a further decrease in swell and north west winds predicted. Despite the average forecast, a near full day of surfing is required before the final day of the event on Saturday.

Open Men's Division Semifinals
Heat 1 Billy Stairmand (Rag), 16.83, 1, Matt Hewitt (Mnt), 16.77, 2, Bobby Hansen (Gis), 13.77, 3, Alex Dive (Mnt), 11.9, 4
Heat 2 Tim O'Connor (Mnt), 12.93, 1, Chris Malone (Gis), 10.7, 2, Jay Quinn (Gis), 10.1, 3, Zen Wallis (Piha), 5.8, 4

Under 18 Men's Division Semifinals
Heat 1 Ben Poulter (Rag), 13.33, 1, Dune Kennings (Whmata), 12.4, 2, Waretini Wano (Piha), 9.4, 3, Adam Grimson (Gis), 7.3, 4
Heat 2 Tane Wallis (Piha), 14.37, 1, Elliot Paerata Reid (Piha), 10.3, 2, Mckenzie Bowden (Whmata), 9.03, 3, Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata), 7.8, 4

Under 14 Boys Quarterfinals
Heat 1 Taine Craig Ranga (Waihi Bch), 10.83, 1, Isaac Kettle (Tara), 9.17, 2, Daniel Farr (Tara), 7.28, 3, Joshua Farr (Tara), 5.83, 4
Heat 2 Tane Bowden (Whmata), 11.73, 1, Manu Scott-Arrieta (Sandy Bay), 10.27, 2, Jack Wilson (ChCh), 5.3, 3, Sam Copley 9Auck), 2.1, 4
Heat 3 Kehu Butler (Arataki), 12.93, 1, Xavier Campbell (Dun), 5.63, 2, Samuel Sands (Chch), 3.23, 3, Henry Copley (Auck), 1.53, 4

Open Women's Semifinals
Heat 1 Mischa Davis (Auck), 13.5, 1, Thandi Durham - Tipene (Tara), 8.1, 2, Grace Spiers (Whmata), 7.5, 3
Heat 2 Ella Williams (Whmata), 11.4, 1, Jayda Martin-Fitzharris (Gis), 8.07, 2, Jessica Santorik (Rag), 7.93, 3

Under 18 Girls Semifinals
Heat 1 Gabriella Sansom (Auck), 7.83, 1, Bianca Sansom (Auck), 7, 2, Nam Northcott (Tara), 3.07, 3
Heat 2 Ella Williams (Whmata), 8.67, 1, Jasmine Smith (Gis), 4.47, 2, Ella Spiers (Wmata), 2.63, 3
Heat 3 Jayda Martin-Fitzharris (Gis), 8.6, 1, Claudia Fraser (Piha), 5.37, 2, Dayna Story (Gis), 4.37, 3

Over 55 Men's Quarterfinals
Heat 1 John Gisby (Gis), 10.33, 1, David Storck (Auck), 2.4, 2, Rob Bayes Orewa), NS, 3
Heat 2 Mike Trainer (H-Bay), 9.03, 1, Ken Nicolson (Auck), 3.63, 2, Michael Gray (Auck), 3.4, 3
Heat 3 Barry McCulloch (Tau), 8.8, 1, Gary Quinn (Gis), 4.83, 2, Alistair Goodwin (Piha), 3.3, 3

Kneeboard Semifinals
Heat 1 Phill Miller (Auck), 7.1, 1, Kamen Geiseler (Gis), 4.33, 2, Ian Walker, 4.1, 3, Murray Weir (Tara), 3.37, 4
Heat 2 Jamie Andrews (Tara), 10.33, 1, Phill Pickering (Auck), 7.17, 2, Craig Hooper (Mnt), 3.57, 3, Mike Anderson (Auck), 2.6, 4

Kneeboard Final
Jamie Andrews (Tara), 8.0, 1, Phill Pickering (Auck), 7.83, 2, Phill Miller (Auck), 6.4, 3, Kamen Geiseler (Gis), 6.07, 4

The all encompassing seven day event runs from the 15th - 21st of January. Please see below for a guide to when remaining divisions are expected to be contested.

Day 6 (Fri 20th Jan) - Open Men, Under 18, 16, 14 Boys, All longboard, SUP Surf, All Women's, All Seniors, Potentially some finals
Day 7 (Sat 21st Jan) - Finals, All Bodyboard

The Hyundai National Championships were first held in 1963 when they took place at Mount Maunganui. In its infancy, the event comprised Open Men's and Women's as well as Under 18 Men's divisions only. Since then it has grown to comprise a colossal 25 divisions across all disciplines and the 2012 edition will crown New Zealand's 500th national champion.

Twenty five national titles will go up for grabs at the Hyundai National Championships. As well as the premier Open Men's and Open Women's Divisions, there will be a further 23 divisions comprising of age groups from Under 14 through to Over 50s and also longboard, Stand Up Paddleboard, Bodyboard and Kneeboard disciplines.

Previous reports:
# 1 : New Zealand national champs come to Piha Beach
# 2 : New Zealand's national championships underway...
# 3 : Hansen fires Day Three of Hyundai National Champs
# 4 : Small surf and upsets Day 4 of New Zealand Champs  


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Source: Surfing New Zealand

Author:  Ben Kennings /

Tags: New Zealand, Hyundai, Championships, Piha Beach, Auckland

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