New Zealand team adds ASP competitors Hewitt and Mason
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 6 September, 2014 - Surfing New Zealand named six surfers in the New Zealand Surfing Team to compete at the 2014 ISA World Surfing Games. The event will be held at Punta Negra, Peru from the 24th October – 1st November, the event marking the 50th anniversary of the International Surfing Association.
The team is highlighted by Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) competitors Matt Hewitt (Mnt) and Sarah Mason (Gold Coast). The two surfers have several years of international experience touring the world on the ASP World Qualifying Series and in Mason’s case on the ASP World Tour in 2012. Mason is the only surfer to not have previously competed in the New Zealand Surfing Team. However, Mason was a member of the junior team in 2010 where she finished eighth in the Under 18 Girls Division of the ISA World Junior Championship.
The two surfers are joined by the Wallis brothers Zen and Tane of Piha, JC Susan from Dunedin and Whangamata’s Grace Spiers. All four surfers have represented New Zealand with Susan the most capped having competed at this event in 2011 and 2013.
Hewitt will lead the Kiwi males into the event and has smelt success at ISA events in the past placing third in the Under 16 Boys Division of the World Junior Championships in 2007, a result that he describes as one of his greatest surfing moments in his career. This year he will be mixing the chance to compete as part of the team with further ASP qualifying events in Brazil once the team disperses.
“I have not had the best international results this year, it's been one of the toughest years just to get into the ASP events let alone get past the first few heats” said Hewitt adding “A lot of the World Tour surfers are also contesting the few six star events there have been. So I am really trying to do as many of the qualifying series events I can before the year ends” finished Hewitt.
A top seven finish at this year’s event would see the New Zealand team qualify for the 2015 ISA China Cup in January next year. The China Cup is an invitational event catering for the top seven nations in the world plus the hosts. New Zealand has not been represented at the event in the past two years that it has run and will need to improve its ranking of twelfth place from the 2013 event.
Hewitt believes it is possible as long as the team believe that they can win but he also suggests New Zealand needs to send the best possible team to the event.
“Guys like Billy (Stairmand), Ric (Christie) and the other top guys in New Zealand should be representing Kiwis at the event. The countries that do well and that are on the podium every year are the countries who send a complete contingent of their top surfers” said Hewitt. “We should be having guys lining up to want to rep New Zealand, we all don't have the money, but I suppose it's what is important to you, like they say if there is a will you will find a way.”
South Africa claimed the gold medal from 23 other countries in 2013 when the event was held in Panama. Ella Williams was the highest placed Kiwi finishing fourth in the Open Women’s Division but is absent from the event this year due to other international committments.
The 2014 New Zealand Surfing Team is as follows:
JC Susan (Mnt)
Matt Hewitt (Mnt)
Tane Wallis (Piha)
Zen Wallis (Piha)
Grace Spiers (WGM)
Sarah Mason (Gold Coast)