Billabong National Surfing Champs
Presented by Subaru
Surfing New Zealand
Piha Beach, Auckland
11 - 17 January 2015
New Era of Women Make Their Mark on Champs
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 13 January, 2015 - A new era in female surfing made their presence felt at the 2015 Billabong national Surfing Championships driven by Subaru today as six young surfers forced their way into the semifinals of the Open Women’s Division.
In a building 1.5m – 2.0m swell, the young girls, many of whom are contesting three divisions at this week’s event, showed they had the ability and the guts to tackle the powerful waves at Piha Beach. Six of the eight semifnalists in the Open Women’s Division are under the age of 20 with some as young as 14.
Local Auckland surfer Gabriella Sansom (Long Bay) top scored for the day posting 11.83 out of a possible 20 points to win her match up and progress alongside the youngest competitor, Zhana Hutchieson (Tara). The two goofy-footers surfed the Piha Bar completing some big turns on the end closeout sections to advance.
The two will now face Elin Tawharu (Mnt) and Britt Kindred (Mur) who together eliminated number one seed Jasmine Smith (Gis). Tawharu and Kindred were New Zealand representatives in 2014 and will relish the chance to contest the semifinals later in the event and have a chance to push for national selection again this year.
Other young surfers to make it through to the semifinals included local surfer Claudia Fraser (Piha) and National Under 18 Scholastic Champion Dayna Story (Gis).
The young surfers did not have it all their own way with 2013 National Champion Mischa Davis (Piha) advancing through her heat alongside Jessica Santorik (Rag) a past finalist on several occasions but yet to win the title.
Early in the day the Stand Up Paddleboard Divisions were contested with the final four surfers determined. Defending champion Shayne Baxter (Chch) will get a chance to go head to head with Daniel Kereopa (Rag) again, the two surfers having battled out numerous finals previously. The two surfers will be joined by 2010 champion Lynden Kennings (WGM) and Waihi Beach surfer Ben Poulter.
It was Poulter’s older sister, Alexis that defended her title in the Women’s Stand Up Paddleboard Division defeating Penelope Strickland (Auck), Renee Davenport (Rag) and Maria Kingi (Auck).
Thomas Kibblewhite made a successful return to domestic competition winning his way through to the final of the Men’s Longboard Division. Kibblewhite recently contested the World Championships in China where he placed 17th and qualified for the 2015 event to be held later in the year. Kibblewhite will be joined by Andrew Robinson (Auck), Tane Wallis (Piha) and Jordan Griffin (Mnt) in the final of the Longboard Division.
The top seeds of the Open Men’s Division have had a long wait to compete this week but it looks likely that they will hit the water on day four. The likes of top seed and four time national champion Maz Quinn (Gis) will hit the water along with the highest internationally ranked surfer in the event Billy Stairmand.
Day four will also see the introduction of all senior age group divisions. The swell is forecast to plateau overnight with more favourable and lighter winds forecast for day four of the event on Wednesday.
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.
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
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. Please see below for results of day three at the 2015 Billabong National Surfing Championships driven by Subaru held today (Tuesday 13th January) at the south end of Piha Beach.
Open Women’s Quarterfinals
Heat 1 Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 9.9, 1, Britt Kindred (Mur), 7.53, 2, Jasmine Smith (Gis), 4.73, 3, Milly Crewe (Mur), 2.87, 4
Heat 2 Gabriella Sansom (Auck), 11.83, 1, Zhana Hutchieson (Tara), 5.77, 2, Lucy Parkes (Auck), 3.13, 3, Marguerite Vujich (Napier), 0.93, 4
Heat 3 Mischa Davis (Piha), 8.67, 1, Jessica Santorik (Rag), 6.9, 2, Kea Smith (Mnt), 6.8, 3, Bianca Sansom (Auck), 1.9, 4
Heat 4Claudia Fraser (Piha), 9.3, 1, Dayna Story (Gis), 8.73, 2, Abby Falwasser-Logan (Gis), 6.83, 3, Alexis Poulter (Rag), 6.73, 4
Under 18 Girls Semifinals
Heat 1 Kea Smith (Arataki), 15.4, 1, Zhana Hutchison (Tara), 8.47, 2, Tiana - Breeze de Mooj (Mnt), 5.83, 3
Heat 2 Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 9.67, 1, Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 8.97, 2, Georgia Wederall (Mnt), 1.4, 3
Men’s Longboard Semifinals
Heat 1 Thomas Kibblewhite (Red Beach), 12.3, 1, Andrew Robinson (Auck), 8.4, 2, Daniel Kereopa (Rag), 7.7, 3, Phil Morris (Auck), 6.4, 4
Heat 2 Tane Wallis (Piha), 8.83, 1, Jordan Griffin (Mnt), 8.1, 2, Zen Wallis (Piha), 7.27, 3, Ben Poulter (Waihi Beach), 6.03, 4
Under 18 Longboard
Heat 1 Liam Kessner (Piha), 4.03, 1, Cory Wood (Piha), 3.3, 2, Sam Sands (Chch), 3.2, 3
Heat 2 Lee Ririnui (Mnt), 7.4, 1, Henry Hawke (Chch), 7.37, 2, Connor Seaman (Mur), 3.57, 3, Taylor O’Leary, 2.94, 4
Heat 1 Alexis Poulter (Waihi Beach), 7.27, 1, Renee Davenport (Rag), 4.87, 2, Penelope Strickland (Auck), 4.27, 3, Margurite Vujcich (Napier), 2, 4
Heat 2 Anna Jolly (Piha), 8.43, 1, Hannah Kibblewhite (Red Beach), 5.83, 2, Mischa Davis (Piha), 5.47, 3, Shelley Jones (Auck), N/S, 0
Men’s Stand Up Paddleboard
Heat 1 Jeremy Stephenson (Auck), 7.17, 1, Geoff Pardoe (Tologa), 6.53, 2, Karlos Aarsen (WGM), 5.87, 3, Ollie Houghton (Auck), 5.17, 4
Heat 2 Shayne Baxter (Chch), 14.9, 1, Lynden Kennings (WGM), 9.63, 2, Darren Jones (Auck), 6.63, 3
Heat 3 Daniel Kereopa (Rag), 15.7, 1, Ben Poulter (Waihi Beach), 8.5, 2, Shaan Miller (Auck), 4.67, 3
Heat 4 Armie Armstrong (Rag), 9.42, 1, Oscar Murrell (Auck), 7.47, 2, Shane Murrell (Auck), 5.37, 3, Jack Evans (Auck), 1, 4
Men’s Stand Up Paddleboard Semifinals
Heat 1 Daniel Kereopa (Rag), 15.3, 1, Lynden Kennings (WGM), 8.9, 2, Jeremy Stephenson (Auck), 6.63, 3, Oscar Murrell (Auck), 2.67, 4
Heat 2 Shayne Baxter (Chch), 13, 1, Ben Poulter (Waihi Beach), 8.3, 2, Armie Armstrong (Rag), 8.17, 3, Geoff Pardoe (Tologa), 6.07, 4
Women’s Stand Up Paddleboard
Alexis Poulter (Waihi Beach), 10.7, 1, Penelope Strickland (Auck), 5.03, 2, Renee Davenport (Rag), 4.8, 3, Maria Kingi (Auck), 3.2, 4