The talent-laden field of Kiwi surfers at the Backdoor King and Queen of the Point presented by Quiksilver was whittled down to the final four surfers in the Women’s Division and six surfers in the Men’s Division today (Friday 22nd July).
Participants relished the chance to attack perfect 1.0m – 1.5m waves at Manu Bay, Raglan with conditions staying groomed all day thanks to a light offshore wind which faded to glassy afternoon conditions.
Local knowledge always comes to the fore at Raglan and today was no different with the day’s top performers all calling Raglan home.
Luke Cederman top scored for the first day scoring 16.83 out of a possible 20, obliterating his final heat of the day to advance to the semifinals via his aggressive forehand power carves.
“I’m more exhausted than happy about that performance and three heats today” commented an out-of-breath Cederman. “It is good to beat the grommets though and its quite nostalgic surfing against Quinny after competing against him for at least 20 years” he added in reference to his match up with Jay Quinn (Gis). Quinn was surfing in a New Zealand event for the first time in a decade after recently returning from overseas. Both surfers advanced over Zen Wallis (Piha) and Tyler Perry (Kaik).
Billy Stairmand followed suit in the next heat scoring pocket 7s on his two best waves to move through with Jarred Hancox (Tara).
Stairmand is recently home from South Africa and has spent less than four weeks in New Zealand this year while competing on the WSL Challenger Series. Stairmand will take off for California next week for the US Open of Surfing.
“It is always good to come home, and refresh and this event happened to fall during my time home, and it is always good to compete and see all the guys from around the country and share stories, the event wasn’t something I anticipated while home, so it is a bonus” said Stairmand of his situation.
“I want more than pocket 7s tomorrow, the waves are pumping, tricky to pick the right ones but if you get them, you get the rights scores” he added.
“Obviously I want to have the finals on the points if possible so we will wake up in the morning and see what the day brings” added Stairmand in relation to the chance to finish the Men’s and Women’s Divisions on Saturday.
The youngest of the local surfers to advance was 18-year-old Kora Cooper who won the final heat of the day in fading light on dusk. Cooper got off to a quick start in the final posting a 13.14 point heat total within the first eight minutes. It was a lead that never looked in doubt until a 7.17 from fellow local Caleb Cutmore that advanced the two surfers into the semifinals.
“Winning the heat tonight gives me heaps of confidence surfing against the top guys, especially going into the Under 20 Boys Division tomorrow” said Cooper. “The Point is my favourite wave and you can’t beat surfing at home in front of family too. I want to carry my form into tomorrow in the semis and also the Under 20s Division” he added.
Ella Williams made a return to competition in the Open Women’s Division and made an instant impact ending the day with a 14.70 point heat total to advance to the final. It was William’s first three heats after taking a break from the competition arena after the Tokyo Olympics a year ago.
“It’s great to be back, it is cool to be surfing at Raglan and surfing good waves and get my feet in the wax” said a jubilant Williams. “My first couple of heats were a bit rusty but I feel like I am starting to get some momentum going, so yeah, it has been a fun day” added Williams.
Like Stairmand, Williams is also keen to see the finals held at the Point on Saturday.
When the finals hit the water, she will be up against Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), Estella Hungerford (Chch) and Brie Bennett (Rag). Hungerford smashed her semifinal match up today posting a 14.10-point heat total to advance alongside Bennett on 12.0 points. Both surfers, along with Gouldsbury will be in action in the Under 20 Girls Division on Saturday.
On Saturday, the junior age group divisions will enter the water for the first time and should conditions permit, we will see the Men’s and Women’s Divisions surfed through to completion.
The MR Twin Fin Expression Session will take place early in the afternoon on Saturday with eight lucky surfers getting the change to take part in the 30 minute heat.
The swell forecast is looking strong enough for day two being held at Manu Bay with a fading 1.0m swell and offshore winds predicted.
The Backdoor King and Queen of the Point pres by Quiksilver is an SNZ3000 event and boasts $15,000 in prize money as the richest event of the year and with maximum national ranking points on offer.
For all results and the schedule for remaining heats, please visit – https://liveheats.com/events/29714
For more information on the Backdoor King and Queen of the Point presented by Quiksilver, please contact Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Generous support from Backdoor Surf Shop, Quiksilver, Channel Island Surfboards and Sticky Johnson have made the event possible. The event is hosted by Raglan’s Point Boardriders.
High resolution images will be available to media upon request. Images will be distributed free of charge.
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Author: Ben Kennings