A maiden victory from Dune Kennings (Piha) in front of a vociferous local crowd has closed out the New Zealand Super 16 presented by Skinnies and Volkswagen held at Piha today (Sunday 16th May). The Piha surfer joined Ella Williams (WGM) on the podium for the final event of the year, Williams using the event as a final competitive outing before the focus switches to the Olympics in Tokyo.
Held in solid 1.5m plus waves at the south end of Piha Beach, the finals action was fierce in both the Men’s and Women’s Divisions with Kennings finishing on 15.36 points and Williams on 14.43.
The overall New Zealand Surf Series had been sewn up prior to the final event after dominant season-long performances from Taylor Hutchison (Rag) in the men’s and Ava Henderson in the women’s, Henderson finishing her campaign with a third place finish today.
“This win has been a long time coming,” reflected Dune Kennings post final.
“I have come back from a serious knee injury in recent years but over the last 12 months I have been surfing heaps and putting in a lot of effort but also enjoying my surfing at the same time and today it all came together for me,” he added.
“I won every heat today and was feeling the energy coming to me all the time, it is funny how you get in that rhythm sometimes, plus I was in front on my boys from Keyhole Boardriders all day and I was feeding off their energy and it all played out,” Kennings said.
He started the final with a 7.33 on his first wave and his second scored even better at 8.03 out of a possible 10 points pushing him into the lead from the outset and a lead he would not relinquish.
Despite Kennings’ early advantage, both Sean Peggs (Tairua) and Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch) both had good single waves, keeping them within firing range of Kennings. However, they were unable to find that second scoring ride with Peggs edging past Stewart on his last wave for a runner-up finish, Stewart finishing in third and the youngest of the finalists Tom Robinson (Whngrei) finishing in fourth place overall.
Ella Williams pushed hard in the final making the most of the good waves on offer to take out a win over her younger counterparts, her three opponents today all coming from the junior ranks having competed the day prior in the age group categories.
“It was great today, the waves were good and they allowed us to show what we can do out there,” said Williams.
“There was heaps of paddling going down, as per usual at Piha, you had to keep busy. I didn’t know what scores I had or where I was placed in the final so I had to keep going and hunting down opportunities and it paid off,’ added Williams.
This will be Williams last hit out before she aims to be at the Olympics in July. Between now and then, she has ten weeks of training to be ready for the event using her time wisely to fine tune her routines at home in Whangamata with training.
Today it was Taranaki surfer Natasha Gouldsbury that got the jump on the rest of the young field to finish in second place, going close to Williams with a high score of 6.2 points but unable to find the 8.24 required to defeat the Olympic bound surfer.
Ava Henderson (Chch) finished the final in third place with Ariana Shewry (Tara) finishing in fourth place.
In the semifinals Ella Williams rode to the Volkswagen x Skinnies Wave of the Day taking off on a big perfect righthander and squaring up for two critical backhand turns. Despite falling on the third turn, the damage had been done with the judges awarding her an 8.67 point ride.
The New Zealand Surf Series commenced at Piha in January with the National Championships before heading to Rip Curl Pro at Raglan, the Emerson’s South Island Champs in Dunedin, Exit Surf Canterbury Champs in Christchurch and the Backdoor Taranaki Pro only two weeks ago. For the first time this year, the Seventh Wave Canterbury Women’s Championships was also part of the national series providing more opportunity for female surfers in New Zealand.
Please see below for results from the NZ Super 16 presented by Skinnies and Volkswagen completed at Piha Beach, Auckland today (Sunday 16th May). The full draw can be viewed here.
Open Men’s Division Quarterfinals
Dune Kennings (Piha), 14.33, 1, Callum Chuter (Mnt), 12.47, 2, Conor McLennan (Chch), 10.43, 3, Jarred Hancox (Tara), 8.3, 4
Taylor Hutchison (Rag), 13.36, 1, Sean Peggs (Tairua), 11.74, 2, Zen Wallis (Piha), 10.26, 3, Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 8.66, 4
Paul Moretti (Nrthlnd), 12.4, 1, Billy Stairmand (Rag), 12.37, 2, Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 11.67, 3, Daniel Farr (Tara), 10.8, 4
Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch), 12.4, 1, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 11.73, 2, Jay Piper – Healion (Whiti), 11.4, 3, Reuben Woods (Mnt), 10.73, 4
Open Men’s Division Semifinals
Dune Kennings (Piha), 13.6, 1, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 13.4, 2, Taylor Hutchison (Rag), 11.7, 3, Billy Stairmand (Rag), 9.76, 4
Sean Peggs (Tairua), 14.6, 1, Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch), 13.2, 2, Paul Moretti (Nrthlnd), 11.7, 3, Callum Chuter (Mnt), 10.4, 4
Open Men’s Division Final
Dune Kennings (Piha), 15.4, 1, Sean Peggs (Tairua), 12.4, 2, Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch), 11.6, 3, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 8.93, 4
Open Women’s Division Semifinals
Ava Henderson (Chch), 13.2, 1, Ariana Shewry (Oakura), 11.3, 2, Zhana Hutchieson (Tara), 6.23, 3, Anna Brock (Mnt), 3.3, 4
Ella Williams (Whmata), 15.6, 1, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 10.3, 2, Gabrielle Paul (Piha), 9.87, 3, Georgia Wederell (Mnt), 9.17, 4
Open Women’s Division Final
Ella Williams (Whmata), 14.43, 1, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 12.13, 2, Ava Henderson (Chch), 10.16, 3, Ariana Shewry (Oakura), 8.36, 4
For further information on the 2021 Super 16 presented by Skinnies and Volkswagen please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email email@example.com.
High resolution action images of the surfing will be available to media free of charge upon request.
Live scoring of the event will be on www.compusurf.com.au.
The final day of the event will be broadcast live on Sky Sport Channel 9. The event will also be webcast live on Sky Sport Next.
The Surfing New Zealand event hotline is 0211134506. This will be updated daily at approximately 7am with venue, divisions contested and conditions.
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Author: Ben Kennings