Sublime Stairmand Too Good For Opponents
A move to Ruapuke Beach south of Raglan was not enough to stop local Raglan surfer Billy Stairmand from claiming the Rip Curl Pro presented by Nature Valley today (Saturday 12th March).
The Rip Curl Pro presented by Nature Valley is the fifth of six events on the SOL Surf Series with the final event to be contested in early April being an invitational event for the top rated surfers in New Zealand post today's results.
It is the third time Stairmand has won the Rip Curl Pro, both previous victories (2008, 2009) coming at his more favoured break of Manu Bay. Today Stairmand had to contest small 0.5m - 1.0m waves fanned by light winds at Ruapuke Beach. The conditions could not be further from what is expected when Stairmand takes his place in the Rip Curl Padang Cup in Bali during July this year - an invitation he receives as a result of his victory today.
"It will be amazing to go to that event and surf Padang Padang with four guys out. It is not going to be one foot and onshore though is it. It will be good that Morehu (Roberts) will be there too, I will have a friend to hang with."
Stairmand surfed a near perfect final today scoring 18.25 points out of a possible 20 - the highest heat score of the entire event. His top two waves were 9.5 and 8.75 point rides, his highest comprising of two backhand re-entries and a trademark fins free backhand close out manoeuvre that brought the sun drenched crowd alive.
Billy Stairmand on his way to winning the Rip Curl Pro pres by Nature Valley. Image by Silas / Kiwi Surf Magazine.
"I just went out and got that first wave and it flowed from there. I was relaxed and not thinking of the heats as a comp, just having fun with the boys kinda thing" said Stairmand.
Comparing his three wins post-final, he thought the win today on the beach break was "pretty amazing." It is good to have it here, different waves etc, it makes it fairer in some ways" added Stairmand in reference to the options a beach break provides.
Stairmand is one of New Zealand's big hopes in the upcoming Association of Surfing Professionals event at Gisborne in ten days time. Having won an international event in Portugal of the same size in 2010, Stairmand will hope that he can find another good performance when the world's best surfers come to New Zealand. This win is the perfect platform leading into Gisborne.
Billy Stairmand. Image by Silas / Kiwi Surf Magazine.
"Its better than losing and being down for a week" said Stairmand of how today's win will affect his build up. "It is a good confidence boost and to win on a beach break is good practice for Gissy."
Stairmand will be unable to take his place in the SOL Super 16 as a result of his international commitments which see him fly to Australia immediately after the Gisborne event before then heading to Scotland.
Placing second in the final today was Tim O'Connor (Mnt) who surfed a brilliant event and finished the final with a 14.75 point heat total yet still required a combination of scores to catch Stairmand.
Tim O’Connor flying through the air and on his way to a second placing at the Rip Curl Pro pres by Nature Valley. Image by Silas / Kiwi Surf Magazine.
Mark Pathemore completing a big turn on his way to a career best result of second place in the under 20 Men’s Division at the Rip Curl Pro pres by Nature Valley. Image by Silas / Kiwi Surf Magazine.
"I am stoked with my result, I made a final earlier in the Series but it is good to make finals in the big events" said O'Connor. "I felt like I was surfing well but Bill was too good. I felt if I got the right waves I might have been able to take it out but congrats to him, he is ripping and it is good to see the level of surfing so high in New Zealand right now" added O'Connor on reflection of the final.
O'Connor jumped to number two on the SOL Surf Series behind Jay Quinn (Gis) who was absent from the event this weekend.
Another local surfer in Leon Santorik placed third in the final, his best result oo the SOL Surf Series this year scoring 14.50 in the final while fourth place went to Larry Fisher (Rag) who made his first final in some years after a great weekend of results.
Earlier in the day O'Connor and Santorik defeated Maz Quinn (Gis) and Richard Christie (Mah) in the first semifinal while Stairmand and fisher defeated Blair Stewart (Gis) and Keone Campbell (Tara) in the second semifinal.
Grace Spiers (WGM) claimed her second ever victory at a national level winning the Open Women's Division of the Rip Curl Pro presented by Nature Valley. The win comes four years after her first victory as a young 14 year old surfer who stunned the New Zealand surfing community back in 2007.
Spiers won the open women’s division – her first victory at this level in four years. Image by Silas / Kiwi Surf Magazine.
Surfing with aggression and attacking the lip on several waves, Spiers posted an 11.5 point heat total for a hard fought win over her opponents.
"My board was so good out there, I got Pete Anderson to make me one for small conditions and it stood up to the test this weekend" said Spiers.
"It's amazing to get that winning feeling again, it is the best feeling ever."
"It was hard toward the end of the final. I thought the other girls were going to get the scores so I am ecstatic I eventually won."
The win elevates Spiers to second on the SOL Surf Series ratings going into the last event of the year, one place behind fellow Whangamata surfer Ella Williams.
Williams placed fourth in the event and as a result of her performance holds on to the number one ranking on the SOL Surf Series. Image by Silas / Kiwi Surf Magazine.
Auckland's Rosa Thompson surfed to second place and a career best result. Thompson did hold the lead for part of the final after scoring a 7.0 point ride early in the heat.
However after hunting down a 4.5 point ride for the latter half of the final, Thompson came up short with a 3.8 point ride on her last wave to come agonisingly close to a win.
Placing third was Alexis Poulter (Rag) who was another surfer to briefly hold the lead before being pushed into third late in the heat by Spiers and Thompson. Ella Williams placed fourth in the final which was enough to extend her lead on the SOL Surf Series with only the final event remaining.
The Under 20 Men's Division was filled with four greenhorns all surfing a final at this level for the first time with Piha surfer Zen Wallis coming out on top to claim his first win at a national level at any age group.
Piha surfer Zen Wallis surfing his winning wave in the Under 20 Men’s Division at the Rip Curl Pro pres by Nature Valley. Image by Silas / Kiwi Surf Magazine.
Wallis scored 14.10 points in the final which was highlighted by his last wave of 7.65 points for a long right-hander that walled up perfectly for him to carve his way to the beach.
"That wave just came to me and kept walling up" said Wallis.
"I obviously went into the final to win it, but I just wanted to do my best, it is the first opportunity I have ever had and I wanted to throw everything at it" said Wallis who was in disbelief at his result."
Wallis is the older brother of New Zealand representative Tane who has generally been the sibling to succeed and today's role reversal was not lost on the oldest brother.
"That's the other thing, I am pretty sure this is the first time I have made it through to the second day of the event and he hasn't. Usually I am the support crew for him, he was gutted all yesterday....and I beat him in a heat too" added Zen who later went on to thank his brother during the prize giving after all the support he had given him.
Taranaki surfer Mark Pathemore took to the air to place second in the Under 20 Men's Division final after completing two big air reverses. The two waves scored 7.0 and 6.0 respectively which was eventually enough for second place, just short of victory but still a personal best result. Sid West (Great Barrier Island) placed third in the final scoring 12.45 ahead of Ben Poulter (Rag) in fourth place.
The Kiwi Surf Boost For Cash brought together the most innovative surfers in New Zealand for 30 minutes of excitement as ten surfers took to the air for a chance to win $500 cash. After a slow start the exhibition came to life in the final five minutes with the likes of Richard Christie (Mah), Morehu Roberts, Braedon Williams (WGM) and Matt Scorringe (WGM) going for broke. It was Scorringe with a last minute forehand air reverse that clinched the win and he took home the cash.
Please see below for the full results from the Rip Curl Pro pres by Nature Valley - event five on the SOL Surf Series completed today (Saturday 12th March).
Billy claiming the Rip Curl Pro presented by Nature Valley. Image by Silas / Kiwi Surf Magazine.
Open Men's Division Quarterfinals
Tim O'Connor (Mnt), 13.75, 1, Maz Quinn (Gis), 8.35, 2, Mike Banks (Rag), 8, 3, Ryan Hawker (Piha), 5.35, 4
Richard Christie (Mahia), 14.75, 1, Leon Santorik (Rag), 11.9, 2, Chris Malone (Gis), 11, 3, Jarred Hancox (Tara), 7.8, 4
Larry Fisher (Rag), 11.5, 1, Billy Stairmand (Rag), 10.85, 2, Ben Kennings (Whmata), 9.55, 3, Matt Scorringe (Whmata), 8.75, 4
Keone Campbell (Tara), 12.35, 1, Blair Stewart (Gis), 11.75, 2, Morehu Roberts (Rag), 11.65, 3, Luke Hughes (Rag), 11.4, 4
Open Men's Division Semifinals
Tim O'Connor (Mnt), 13.6, 1, Leon Santorik (Rag), 12.65, 2, Maz Quinn (Gis), 11.2, 3, Richard Christie (Mahia), 7.28, 4
Billy Stairmand (Rag), 17.5, 1, Larry Fisher (Rag), 15.3, 2, Blair Stewart (Gis), 13.2, 3, Keone Campbell (Tara), 11.25, 4
Open Men's Final
Billy Stairmand (Rag), 18.25, 1, Tim O'Connor (Mnt), 14.75, 2, Leon Santorik (Rag), 14.5, 3, Larry Fisher (Rag), 7.73, 4
Under 20 Men's Division Quarterfinals
Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata), 9.75, 1, Mackenzie Christie (Tau), 7.95, 3, Sid West (Gt Barrier), 9.05, 2, Todd Doyle (Mnt), N/S
Tim Thompson (Auck), 8.25, 1, Zen Wallis (Piha), 7.5, 2, Tyler Lawson (H-Bay), 6.25, 3, Eli Macdonald (Waitara), 4.8, 4
Mark Parthemore (Tara), 10.5, 1, Ben Poulter (Rag), 9.8, 2, Corey Asplin (Ham), 7.35, 3, Sam Deeley (USA), 6.75, 4
Ryan Hawker (Piha), 9.4, 1, Braedon Williams (Whmata), 7.5, 2, Jacob Kohn (Gis), 5.4, 3, Patxi Scott Arrieta (Sandy Bay), 1, 4
Under 20 Men's Division Semifinals
Sid West (Gt Barrier), 12.2, 1, Zen Wallis (Piha), 9.4, 2, Tim Thompson (Auck), 8.75, 3, Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata), 6.15, 4
Mark Parthemore (Tara), 10.25, 1, Ben Poulter (Rag), 9.6, 2, Braedon Williams (Whmata), 8.45, 3, Ryan Hawker (Piha), 7.45, 4
Under 20 Men's Division Final
Zen Wallis (Piha), 14.10, 1, Mark Parthemore (Tara), 13.0, 2, Sid West (Gt Barrier), 12.45, 3, Ben Poulter (Rag), 9.30, 4
Open Women's Division Semifinal
Rosa Thompson (Auck), 10.25, 1, Alexis Poulter (Rag), 8, 2, Jessica Santorik (Rag), 7.75, 3, Laura Rishworth (Mnt), 5.4, 4
Grace Spiers (Whmata), 9, 1, Ella Williams (Whmata), 6.1, 2, Bianca Sansom (Auck), 3.95, 3, Marguerite Vujich (Napier), 1.9, 4
Open Women's Division Final
Grace Spiers (Whmata), 11.5, 1, Rosa Thompson (Auck), 10.8, 2, Alexis Poulter (Rag), 10.45, 3, Ella Williams (Whmata), 7.85, 4
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