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Whare Heke shines Day 1 of Mt Maunganui Showdown

Whare Heke © Col Surf2Surf





Mount Maunganui Showdown

Surfing New Zealand 
Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
5 - 6 April 2014

Blessed With Waves at the 2014 New Zealand Longboard Open

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 5 April, 2014 - The surf couldn’t get much better than what was on offer throughout day one of the 2014 New Zealand Longboard Open held at Papamoa Domain, Mount Maunganui. New Zealand’s best longboard and stand up paddleboard surfers relished the chance to surf in near perfect 1.5m waves which were groomed to perfection by the light southerly winds.

With big left and right peaks filling the line-up, it was not long before the likes of Thomas Kibblewhite (Red Beach), Owen Barnes (Mnt), Ambrose McNeill (Chch) and Zen Wallis (Piha) started dominating the Copious Men’s Longboard Division, all four surfers winning their early morning heats.

Kibblewhite edged out Barnes to score the highest heat score of the round – 14.5 out of a possible 20 points.  Kibblewhite completed some big vertical turns on his forehand to progress alongside Branko Vela (Auck).

Ambrose McNeill used his traditional approach to rack up some big scores for his heat total of 13.83 and the win.  McNeill has been up in the North Island for several days making the most of the clean cyclone swell hitting the Bay of Plenty.  McNeill will face off against Kibblewhite in the semifinals alongside Daniel Kereopa and Andy Collins (Mnt).  He will also contest the Lifestyle Imports Logger Expression Session on Sunday which caters for the truly traditional longboard surfers.

The stand up paddleboarders enjoyed the early morning conditions with some huge turns being thrown down by current national champion Shayne Baxter (Chch).  Just this week Baxter helped fellow entrant in the women’s division Annabel Anderson cross the Cook Strait on her paddleboard, the first female to do so.  The crossing took four hours as Anderson battled dangerous currents and conditions during the crossing, Baxter sitting side by side with Annabel on the jet ski for safety.

Today Baxter posted 15.5 points to win his Starboard Men’s Paddleboard Division heat and progress through to the semifinals. Kereopa was equally as impressive logging the highest heat score of the entire day, 17.7 out of 20 winning his heat not long after also progressing through to the semifinals of the Men’s Longboard Division.

Kereopa and Baxter will not meet each other until the final of the event should both surfers progress that far. Other paddleboards that looked impressive included Geoff Pardoe (Gis), Armie Armstrong (Rag), Karlos Aarsen (WGM) and New Zealand representative Regan Fairlie (Tologa Bay) who all made it through to the semifinals.

Late in the day the On The Way RV Over 40 Men’s and Over 50 Men’s Divisions hit the water with conditions remaining pristine.  After being eliminated in the Open Men’s Division, local surfer Daryn Mcbride fought back to surf a well-executed heat in the Over 40s and post a 13.17 point heat total moving through to the semifinals.  Equally as impressive was Mark Hoyle (Orewa) who won his heat as did local surfer Whare Heke.

Heke is one of many event partners through Moananui Designs and is providing two hand crafted trophies to be awarded to the male and female surfers who best show the spirit of the event over the two days of competition. Heke will face off against Daryn Mcbride (Mnt), Scott Braithwaite (Ohope) and Grant Corchrane (Chch) in his semifinal match up first thing on Sunday morning.

Day two will see the semifinals and finals of all divisions contested as well as the battle of the paddle SUP race and logger expression session.  Action will take place from 8:00am despite the daylight savings change.  Finals are expected to conclude by 3pm.

The event has seen exceptional support from a wide range of partners - Corona, Isaacs Cider, Creatures of Leisure, UE Boom, Futures Fins, Copious, Starboard, Sector 9, Mophie, Mount Surf Shop, Phoenix Organics, Lifestyle Imports, On the Way RV, Surf2Surf, Pacific Longboarder, Mount Mellick, Bluebiyou Café, Papamoa Top 10, Feet, East Coast Paddlers, Makaraka Estate Wines, Moana Nui Designs, Mount Surf Shop, Mighty Campers and Bay Boardriders.

Ben Kennings

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