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NZ National Championships awaits final showdown

Bobby Hansen © Col/



New Zealand National Surfing Championships

Surfing New Zealand
Makorori Beach, New Zealand
12 - 18 January, 2014

Excitement builds at Kiwi National Championships

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 16 January, 2014 -- Described as the ultimate finale, the Open Men’s Division final at the 2014 National Surfing Championships was confirmed today (Thursday 16th January) and it will feature three local Gisborne surfers and one surfer from Raglan.

The final has all the hallmarks of an ultimate showdown with defending champion Jay Quinn (Gis), who is searching for the first title defence of the division since 1991 and his fourth title.  Also older brother Maz Quinn (Gis) searching for his fifth title, eight years since he last won the event. 

Raglan surfer Billy Stairmand is looking to match Jay Quinn with three titles having won in 2010 and 2012.  Lastly the local surfer, Bobby Hansen, an extremely talented surfer but one without a title to his name despite spending years at the top of New Zealand surfing.

The semifinals of the Open Women’s Division was a completely different story with heavy favourite Ella Williams (WGM) placing fourth in the semifinals at the hands of her younger opponents Abby Falwasser – Logan (Gis) and Gabriella Sansom (Auck) who progressed through to the final.  They will be joined by Grace Spiers (WGM) and Alexis Poulter (Rag).

In blistering heat reaching over 30 degrees and clean 1.0m waves at Makorori Beach, the surfers battled through to the final with some first-rate surfing.  Strong gusty early morning offshore winds gave way to lighter more favourable offshore winds by early afternoon allowing the surfers more opportunity to explode with big scores.

Defending champion Jay Quinn left his run in the semifinals late but once he found his rhythm he posted ominous scores of 9.87 and 8.5 for a 18.83 point heat total.  He was joined by older brother Maz Quinn who had been sitting in third place until the final wave exchange with his brother where the pair exchanged nine point rides, for Maz, the wave being enough to nudge Chris Malone (Rag) and Alex Dive (Mnt) out of the event.

“Yeah the waves have been pretty fun, standard Makas” said Jay Quinn in reference to the conditions at Makorori Beach today.  “All my other heats I have had great starts but it was slow out there and I had to stay patient and calm and I got the waves in the end” he added.

“I don’t know how many times I will be able to come back from Aussie anymore so a fourth title would be good this week.  To do that I need to defend my title which would also be a big achievement” said Quinn.

In the second semifinal Bobby Hansen (Gis) scorched his way through some great waves to post a 15.33 point heat total.  Hansen will be regarded as the underdog for the final which likely sits well with the 28-year-old who said he was neither here nor there with the way he has been surfing this week.

“A national title would definitely be a great thing to have but it is not something I am focussing on really, but I mean, it would be cool to have one for sure” said Hansen who knows the quality of the finalists on paper and hopes that they can live up to the billing.

Hansen progressed alongside Billy Stairmand in the semifinal, the two surfers eliminating Buck Woods (Gis) and Ben Poulter (Rag).  Woods was left just short of progression after scoring a 8.77 point ride early in the final.  However it was the competitive nous of Hansen and Stairmand that kept Woods from finding the 4.74 point ride he required to make his first appearance in a National Championships final.

The upset of the day came from the second semifinal of the Open Women’s Division when Abby Falwasser – Logan stunned the crowd by eliminating 2013 ASP World Junior Champion Ella Williams.  As the time ticked away in the 20 minute heat, everyone thought that Williams would find the small 2.4 point ride required for progression but whatever Williams did, she could not get the score.  It was a big scalp for the young Gisborne surfer who progressed alongside Gabriella Sansom.

“It is amazing to beat Ella, I just wanted to go out and have fun because the waves were real good then I got those two righthanders after one another and I was in the lead” she said in astonishment.

In the first semifinal it was Whangamata surfer Grace Spiers that advanced alongside Alexis Poulter, the two surfers having had a long-standing friendly rivalry dating close to a decade.

“I am so happy, I didn’t think I had made my heat cos I was a bit wave starved.  I always seem to get knocked out in the semis at the Nationals too” said a relieved Spiers who last made the final at Dunedin in 2011.

Having surfed with Ella Williams all her life, Spiers was “gutted” for her loss today.  “You know, she is the best surfer here, that’s just the thing with comps, the waves have to come and yeah, I am just gutted for her” said Spiers who is looking forward to the bigger swell forecast for the final day on Saturday.

Late in the day it was Dune Kennings (WGM) and Kehu Butler (Mnt) that progressed through to the semifinals of the Under 18 Boys Division from heat one.  From heat two it was Jordan Griffin (Mnt) and Korbin Hutchings (Gis) that advanced to the final.

Wainui Store Performance of the Day went to Dune Kennings in the Under 18 Boys Division for his full rotation air reverse that scored 8.07 points out of a possible 10 points.

The surf is expected to decrease further on Friday with light winds forecast.  Friday sees the introduction of the Stand Up Paddleboard and Kneeboard Divisions.  Several finals of the age group divisions will also be contested.

The 2014 National Surfing Championships schedule of events sees a staggered start to several divisions and categories:

12 Jan – Open Men’s and Junior Men’s Divisions
13 Jan – All of the above
14 Jan – All of above plus Women’s Shortboard Divisions
15 Jan – All of the above plus Longboard and older age group divisions
16 Jan – All of the above
17 Jan – All of the above plus SUP (Men and Women) and Kneeboard
18 Jan – All of the above plus SUP Race

Set out below are the results from day five of the 2014 National Surfing Championships held at Makorori Beach, Gisborne today (Thursday 16th January).

Open Men’s Round of 32
Heat 1
Chris Malone (Gis), 11.7, 1, Brent Rasby (Gis), 9.63, 2, Waretini Wano (Piha), 5.77, 3, Kayden Mayes (Tau), 4.83, 4
Heat 2
Paco Divers (Sandy Bay), 10.7, 1, Keone Campbell (Tara), 10.2, 2, Dune Kennings (Whmata), 9.4, 3, Jules Craft (Gis), 5.37, 4
Heat 3
Alex Dive (Mnt), 11.4, 1, Sean Kettle (Tara), 10.9, 2, Richard Christie (Mahia), 10.43, 3, Korbin Hutchings (Gis), 9.63, 4
Heat 4
Jay Quinn (Gis), 14.7, 1, Maz Quinn (Gis), 9.93, 2, Johnny Hicks (Gis), 8.3, 3, James Fowell (Gis), 1.1, 4
Heat 5
Matt Scorringe (Whmata), 10.7, 1, JC Susan (Mnt), 9.43, 2, Mackenzie Christie, 6.97, 3, Clint Daly (Gis), 5.93, 4
Heat 6
Bobby Hansen (Gis), 14.83, 1, Ben Poulter (Rag), 8.6, 2, Ben Kennings (Whmata), 6.4, 3, Cam Neate (Auck), 4.8, 4
Heat 7
Billy Stairmand (Rag), 16.4, 1, Adam Grimson (Gis), 9.93, 2, Zen Wallis (Piha), 8.87, 3, Kayne Duncan (Rag), 5.5, 4
Heat 8
Matt-Lewis Hewitt (Mnt), 13.3, 1, Buck Woods (Gis), 10.8, 2, George Busby (Gis), 10, 3, Tane Wallis (Piha), 9.73, 4

Open Men’s Division Quarterfinals
Heat 1
Chris Malone (Gis), 14.3, 1, Maz Quinn (Gis), 11.2, 2, Sean Kettle (Tara), 10.8, 3, Paco Divers (Sandy Bay), 7.3, 4
Heat 2
Jay Quinn (Gis), 15.8, 1, Alex Dive (Mnt), 13.3, 2, Brent Rasby (Gis), 7.07, 3, Keone Campbell (Tara), 5.13, 4
Heat 3
Bobby Hansen (Gis), 15.2, 1, Buck Woods (Gis), 14.2, 2, Matt Scorringe (Whmata), 10.7, 3, Adam Grimson (Gis), 7.83, 4
Heat 4
Billy Stairmand (Rag), 15.7, 1, Ben Poulter (Rag), 12, 2, Matt-Lewis Hewitt (Mnt), 11.9, 3, JC Susan (Mnt), 8.53, 4

Open Men’s Division Semifinals
Heat 1
Jay Quinn (Gis), 18.4, 1, Maz Quinn (Gis), 17.6, 2, Chris Malone (Gis), 15.3, 3, Alex Dive (Mnt), 11.7, 4
Heat 2
Bobby Hansen (Gis), 15.3, 1, Billy Stairmand (Rag), 13.5, 2, Buck Woods (Gis), 11.4, 3, Ben Poulter (Rag), 6.1, 4

Open Women’s Division Semifinals
Heat 1
Alexis Poulter (Rag), 10.4, 1, Grace Spiers (Whmata), 9.73, 2, Jasmine Smith (Gis), 9.6, 3, Gabriella Sansom (Auck), 9.4, 4
Heat 2
Abby Falwasser-Logan (Gis), 10.7, 1, Bianca Sansom (Auck), 8.43, 2, Wini Paul (Sandy Bay), 7.83, 3, Ella Williams (Whmata), 7.1, 4

Complete lists of all National Champions are located on the Surfing New Zealand website. Thanks to event partners Sport New Zealand, SunSmart, Corona, Isaacs Cider, Wainui Store, Waxy Wax and Gisborne Boardriders.


Ben Kennings

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