Billabong National Surfing Champs
Presented by Subaru
Surfing New Zealand
Piha Beach, Auckland
11 - 17 January 2015
Butler Leads Mount Maunganui Contingent To Success Day Two
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 12 January, 2015 - The final eight surfers in the Junior Men’s Division of the 2015 Billabong National Surfing Championships driven by Subaru were found today. The quarterfinals were dominated by Mount Maunganui sensation Kehu Butler who has been a star performer from the outset of the event in the weekend.
Butler contested both the Under 18 and Under 16 Boys Divisions on day two winning through to the semifinals of both.
At the young age of 14, he is also contesting the Open Men’s Division giving up as much as twenty years of experience against some of his opponents. Early form in the junior divisions suggests he is about to give his older counterparts a run for their money throughout the latter rounds of the competition this week.
Butler will face off against Tauranga surfer Callum Chuter as well as Taylor Hutchison (Rag) and Manu Scott – Arrieta in the semifinals. Today Butler posted a 14.2 pint heat total to advance alongside Chuter who scored 12.10.
Butler showed his silky skills in the junior divisions held in often challenging conditions with the 1.0m swell heavily affected by the low tides during the morning and light sea breezes.
Other heat winners in the quarterfinals included Hutchison, Daniel Farr (Tara) and Nick Tuhikarama (Chch).
Tuhikarama was one of two Christchurch surfers to progress through to the semifinals of the Under 18 Boys Division after a close heat where he and Isaac Kettle (Tara) found themselves trailing their opponents before bouncing back in the late stages of their heat to place first and second respectively.
The juniors are like to have a day off on day three now that they have surfed through to the semifinal stages.
New Zealand’s next generation of female surfers went head-to-head in the first round of the Open Women’s Division today for a chance to surf off against the top seeds. The young surfers didn’t disappoint either with the Mount Maunganui contingent again revelling in the challenging conditions.
New Zealand representative Elin Tawharu led the pack posting 10.67 points out of a possible 20 to win through to the quarterfinals. Tawharu now faces top seed Jasmine Smith (Gis) and Britt Kindred (Mur), both junior team mates of Tawharu in her next match up.
Tawharu was joined by her friends Zhana Hutchieson (Tara), Milly Crewe (Mur), Dayna Story (Gis) and Kea Smith (Mnt) as the young surfers progressing.
Local surfer Mischa Davis, the only previous national champion in the strong field of surfers, won her heat to progress alongside Alexis Poulter (Waihi Beach), herself a multiple Nationals finalist.
Earlier in the day the young girls were confronted with the low tide conditions. Kea Smith (Mnt) top scored across both junior divisions with a 14.3 point heat total in the Under 18 Girls and comfortably moved through to the semifinals of that division and the Under 16 Girls.
Raiha Ensor top scored in the under 16 Girls Division completing some big turns to post a 12 point heat total.
The swell is forecast to build further overnight with more light onshore winds predicted.
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 is set out below. The days listed are the earliest possible start days for each division.
Tuesday 13th – Open Longboard, Junior Longboard, Women’s Longboard, all SUP Surf divisions plus day 1 and 2 divisions
Wednesday 14th – Senior Men’s Divisions plus days 1, 2 and 3 divisions
Thursday 15th – All divisions
Friday 16th – All divisions plus Kneeboard
Saturday 17th - All divisions plus SUP Race