Billabong National Surfing Champs
Presented by Subaru
Surfing New Zealand
Piha Beach, Auckland
11 - 17 January 2015
Defending Champ Stairmand Makes Impressive Start
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 14 January, 2015 - Defending Open Men’s Champion Billy Stairmand (Raglan) made an impressive start to his campaign at the 2015 Billabong National Championships driven by Subaru today winning through to the final 16 surfers.
Day four of the event saw the swell remain in the 1.5m – 2.0m range with a nice early morning offshore wind that turned sea breeze later in the day. The improvement in conditions was enough to put the pinnacle Open Men’s Division in the water first thing in the morning after three days of waiting for the top seeds.
Stairmand instantly focussed his attention toward the middle of the beach at the south end of Piha. The majority of surfers that took the same ‘risk and reward’ strategy progressed through to the quarterfinals. Stairmand’s first wave was an 8.33 point ride which set the pace for his performance. He ended up with a 13.2 point heat total progressing in first place.
“We have been waiting around for three days and we finally got to enter the water today” said Stairmand. “There were a few good ones out there but heaps of close outs too” added Stairmand in reference to the powerful beach break waves on offer.
Stairmand is gunning for his fourth national title at the event, a feat only achieved by four other surfers in the event’s 52 year history. Wayne Parkes (Auck) and Iain Buchanan (Piha) have five titles a piece while Maz Quinn (Gis) has four titles. Maz Quinn can improve on that number this week and is another event favourite at the National Championships. Quinn progressed through his heat in second place behind Elliot Paerata – Reid (Piha) this morning posting a 9.5 point heat total.
Quinn won his last title in 2006 but today showed glimpses of the form required to match the likes of Parkes and Buchanan. Quinn will face Dune Kennings (WGM), Harrison Whiteside (Chch) and JC Susan (Dun) in his quarterfinal match up. New Zealand representative brothers Zen and Tane Wallis of Piha won their second round heats, Tane top scoring in the second round with 16.17 out of a possible 20 points.
The Wallis brothers are extremely familiar with the line-up at the south end of Piha Beach and opted to sit in the middle of the beach in search of the best waves. Tane hunted out the big lefthanders while Zen found the rights in his heat.
In a quirk of the draw, the two surfers will meet each other in the same quarterfinal scheduled to take place on Thursday. They will be joined by local dark horse Liam Joyce and Tairua surfer Sean Peggs. The swell is forecast to remain in the 1.5m range for day six of the event with light winds forecasted.
The 2015 Billabong National Surfing Championships driven by Subaru runs from the 11th – 17th January. It is the eleventh time the event has been held at Piha. The event is hosted by Lion Rock Boardriders Club.
The event schedule for the remainder of the week is set out below. The days listed are the earliest possible start days for each division.
Thursday 15th – All divisions
Friday 16th – All divisions plus Kneeboard
Saturday 17th - All divisions plus SUP Race
In the 52 year history of the event the National Championships has grown to encompass 23 divisions spread across all disciplines and age groups. Over 250 entries have been received for the event.
Open Men’s Quarterfinals (Yet to be surfed)
Heat 1 Dune Kennings (Whmata), Harrison Whiteside (ChCh), JC Susan (Dun), Maz Quinn (Gis)
Heat 2 Alex Dive (Mnt), Matt-Lewis Hewitt (Mnt), Elliot Paerata Reid (Piha), Sean Kettle (Tara)
Heat 3 Tane Wallis (Piha), Liam Joyce (Piha), Zen Wallis (Piha), Sean Peggs (Tairua)
Heat 4 Billy Stairmand (Rag), Matt Scorringe (Whmata), Ben Poulter (Rag), Ben Kennings (Whmata)
Over 35 Men’s Quarterfinals
Heat 1 Marc Moore (Auck), 11.27, 1, Scott Casey (Auck), 10.43, 2, Karlos Aarsen (WGM), 7.87, 3, Mike Mulcahy (Piha), 4.7, 4
Heat 2 Andrew Robinson (Auck), 14.67, 1, Justin Bambery (Auck), 8.93, 2, Shaun Coffey (Auck), 5.8, 3, Kayne Duncan (Coro), 3.7, 4
Heat 3 Nat Barron (Piha), 13.3, 1, Daniel Kereopa (Rag), 11.83, 2, Motu Mataa (Tara), 3.7, 4, Khan Butler (Mnt), 11.53, 3