In the formative years of Gisborne Boardriders Club in the mid-to-late 60’s, the club (then known as ‘Gisborne Surfriders Club’) held an annual mid-winter Open Invitational surf comp that was attended by surfers from surfriding clubs from around the North Island. The annual event ran into the 70’s when it became known as the Queens Birthday Titles.
Four years ago the GBC committee decided to revive the Inter-club concept but in the warmer weather of Labour Weekend, rather than the often testing start-of-winter weather of Queens Birthday weekend, as was adopted in days gone by. The event in 2018 included surfers from GBC, Mahia Boardriders and the freshly reinvigorated Hawkes Bay Boardriders Club. Last year a small band of surfers from Wellington Boardriders also made the trip up to Gisborne to compete. This year Bay Boardriders (Bay of Plenty) and Papamoa Boardriders were invited to join the party, along with the entrants from the Wellington, Mahia and Hawke’s Bay clubs.
To allow the event to be completed in one day and to provide the best conditions for the first round of all divisions, two arenas were used for the first round. The Over-50s and Over-60s enjoyed clean, wedgey two-to-four foot waves at ‘Whales’, Wainui. Local John Gisby has more NZ titles under his belt than anyone, so it was no surprise that ‘Gis’ took out the Over-60’s, although fellow local, Mike Yukich, gave him a good run for his money.
The Over-50’s was just as hotly contested. The final result saw Hawkes Bay regular Francois Sneedon tied for first place with Gisborne’s Sam Phillips.
Meanwhile, the other divisions competed at ‘Red Bus’, Makorori – where the remaining rounds were surfed in more unpredictable cross-wind conditions. Picking the right wave was -as always- the key. Former Gisborne surfer Reuben Woods, who now lives in the Bay of Plenty, was someone who seemed to find all the right waves. Woods has been on a roll lately in surf comps and on Saturday he surfed like someone half his age, progressing through each round of the Open Mens with relentless energy, reminiscent of the ‘Energizer Bunny’. In the final, Woods snuck into the only tube ride of the event to clinch the deal.
Makorori local Saffi Vette is the current NZ Womens Champion – and it showed! During the Open Womens final Vette smashed a long series of high-powered backhand manoeuvres to be awarded the highest wave score of the entire day, a very well-deserved 9-point ride. The crowd broke out in hoots and cheers with some spectators giving her a standing ovation. Vette has put her WQS campaign on hold during the Covid-19 era, so was relishing another domestic competition opportunity to keep her competitive skills fine tuned. Last year’s InterClub comp winner, Asia Braithwaite (Gis), chased Vette but was no match for the NZ Champ and had to settle for runner-up. [pic below: Saffi’s 9-point ride]
Open: Reuben Woods (BoP) 1, George Busby 2, Damon Gunness 3, Patrick Braithwaite 4.
Women: Saffi Vette (Gis) 1, Asia Braithwaite 2, Tina Ryan 3.
Junior Girls: Asia Braithwaite (Gis) 1, Isla Prins 2, Bonnie Lynch 3, Ruby Lobb 4.
Under-12: Indica Corcoran (BoP) 1, Ollie Tong 2, Milo Livingston 3, Archie Alder 4.
Under-14: Dale Cromhout (HBay) 1, Patrick Burbury 2, Gabe Lobb 3, Hunter Lynch 4.
Under-16: Riku Gordon (Mahia) 1, Tai Murphy 2, Noah Camburn 3, Max Phillips 4.
Over-50s: Sam Phillips (Gis) 1=, Francois Sneedon (HBay) 1= , Michael de Groot 3, Steve Sawyer 4.
Over-60s: John Gisby (Gis) 1, Mike Yukich 2, Marguerite Vujcich 3, Ross Moodie 4.
Over-60s Women: Marguerite Vujcich (Mahia) 1.
First-timers: Arna Whaanga (Mahia) 1, Clancy Ryan 2, Maia McGhie 3.
Gisborne Boardriders 4740 points,
Wellington Boardriders 1195.