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Excess entries turn Taranaki WSL event into 'surf-a-thon'

Taranaki WSL event, Craig Williamson, Fitzroy Beach
Jacob Willcox © WSL



New Zealand Updates

Nearly 200 of world’s best surfers to compete in Taranaki

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 1 March, 2015 - Taranaki’s two World Surf League (WSL) competitions in late March will turn into a surf-a-thon of the world’s best following an oversubscription of entries. Entries for the WSL’s Women’s Qualifying Series Port Taranaki Pro, and the North Beach Pro Juniors for Boys and Girls closed on February 25 with an oversubscription of entries from Kiwi and international competitors.

However, with WSL’s blessing, all entrants will be allowed to compete for the events based at Taranaki’s Fitzroy Beach running from March 24 to 29, says event director Craig Williamson.
“It will be a challenge with our six-day event window to run the competitions with such large fields but with a few venue options up our sleeves I'm confident we'll be able to get through it all,” says Williamson, from Surfing Taranaki who host the event.
“The up side is that there'll definitely be international competition level surfing for the public to watch each and every day - if there are contestable surf conditions they'll definitely be out there surfing which is great for spectators and supporters.”
From the original limit of 72 entrants in the Port Taranaki Pro, there are now 92 including six competitors on the elite World Championship Tour (WCT) - Bianca Buitentag (SA), Laura Enever (AUS), Sage Erikson (US), Tatianna Weston-Webb (US),  Dimity Stoyle (AUS), and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS).
In the North Beach Pro Junior events, there are now 64 entrants in the boys' competition and up to 48 in the girls'. Jacob Wilcox will be returning from Australia to defend his 2014 championship title in the boys’ Pro Junior, along with Tatianna Weston-Webb defending her girls’ Pro Junior title from 2014.
“We have a lot of Kiwi competitors in the lineup as well which is fantastic to see,” says Williamson.
“These are the only World Surf League events in New Zealand, and it gives our locals will have the chance to prove their competition skills against the world’s best from Europe, South Africa, Japan, the United States, and of course – our cousins from Australia.”
The Port Taranaki Pro – a world Qualifying Series event enables surfers to earn valuable points to get on to the elite World Tour, and Taranaki local Paige Hareb will be looking to continue her determined and strong start on the QS circuit this year. Also to watch will be Whangamata’s Ella Williams as well as Muriwai Beach’s twin dynamos Gaby Sansom and Bianca Sansom.

Hareb is currently ranked fifth on the QS having achieved second place in the Samsung Galaxy Hainan Pro in mid-January, and 17th place in the Hurley Australian Open in early February. Hareb is currently competing in the trials for the Roxy Pro on the Gold Coast.
The 2015 WSL World Championship Tour for men is also starting to heat up this weekend with the Quicksilver Pro Gold Coast this weekend featuring Ricardo Christie from Gisborne– the only New Zealander on the WCT.
The WSL events are part of the New Zealand Home Loans Surf Festival running from March 21 to April 6 this year. Organised by Surfing Taranaki and supported by the TSB Community Trust and Venture Taranaki, the Surf Festival kicks off with a Rip Curl GromSearch for under 17s from March 21 to 22 and wraps with the Fisher & Paykel Easter Masters held over Easter weekend and finishing on April 5.

Bruce Gatward-Cook

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