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Stellar Opening Day Performances Mixed with Early Nerves For Top Kiwi Surfers

Day one of a national championship always proves a testing time as participants nervously navigate their early round heats and size up their opponents.  Some surfers pass with flying colours and others battle what is commonly knowing as first round jitters.  Today (Tuesday 11th January), was no different in Westport as we kicked off the 59th edition of the New Zealand Surfing Championships.

The action took place at Tauranga Bay, 15km south of Westport, in solid 1.5m plus swell and strengthening southwest winds.  The rise in swell overnight proved a challenge for many participants.

Surfers in the Open Women’s Division produced some excellent performances with the in-form Ariana Shewry (Tara) showing a liking to the solid conditions surfing to a 13.34 point heat total.  Shewry eclipsed her travelling companion, Brie Bennett (Rag), who posted her own impressive 13.07 point heat total with her smooth surfing giving her a comfortable heat win.

Event favourites Paige Hareb (Tara) and Ava Henderson (Chch) won their heats, Henderson attacking critical end sections for a 12.67 point heat total to set the tone for the round.  Hareb kept her opponents in check during a low scoring affair to move through to the quarterfinals.

Other female surfers to advance out of the first round, securing heat wins, included juniors Asia Braithwaite (Gis) and Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara).

The women will likely have a rest day tomorrow (Wednesday) before resuming their road to the finals on Thursday.

The first round of the Open Men’s Division kicked off the day.  Top seeded surfers do not enter the event until the second round with many taking up the chance for practice sessions prior to the event and on neighbouring beaches during the day.

Round 1 was dominated by a mix of junior surfers and seniors returning to the competitive arena.  Soren Bucka-Christensen (Tara), Tyler Perry (Kaik) and Max De Groot (HBay) found their way into the next round as the top scoring juniors.  Senior surfers Kane Rowson (Tara) and local favourite Jai Earnshaw also advanced through the round and will meet the top seeds when they enter the water on day two of the event.

The performance of the day went to Piha’s Leia Millar in the Under 16 Girls Division for a near perfect 9.33 point ride in her heat.  Millar found a long-running lefthander and smashed several big turns finishing off the wave on a critical end section.  She finished with a 13.8 point heat total to advance through to the semifinals.  Other top surfers in the division included Skylar Mcfetridge (Tara), Poppie Enwistle (Chch) and Pia Rogers (WGM).

The Under 18 Boys Division rounded out the day with Kalani Louis (Tara), Tyler Perry (Kaik), Jake Owen (Dun) and James Millar (Chch) all collecting heat wins on the way to the quarterfinals.

The swell is expected to ease overnight with a moderate southwest wind forecast to persist into day two.  Conditions will see us back at Tauranga Bay which offers up more protection from the weather system rolling through.  Day two sees the introduction of the senior divisions as another massive day of surfing is required to stay on schedule.

Over 320 entries have been received for the event.  A total of 29 divisions are being contested including the premier Open Men and Women plus additional divisions comprising of age groups from Under 14 boys and girls through to Over 60s for males and females and Longboard, Stand Up Paddleboard, Bodyboard and Kneeboard disciplines.

See below for results from Day 1 of the 2022 National Surfing Championships held at Tauranga Bay, Westport today (11 January 2022).  A full list of results can be found here.

Open Men’s Division Round of 40
Heat 1

Tyler Perry (Kaik), 13.17, 1, Jai Earnshaw (W.C), 8.84, 2, Spencer Rowson (Tara), 8.80, 3, Liam Heasley (Chch), 4.97, 4
Heat 2
Max de Groot (Hbay), 10.70, 1, Jack McKenzie (Chch), 8.37, 2, Nate Florence (Tara), 4.90, 3, Ashton Rogers (WGM), 3.70, 4
Heat 3
Kane Rowson (Tara), 11.10, 1, Dane Cox , 10.13, 2, Jacob Fitzgerald (W.C), 10.10, 3, Lockie O’Connor (Mnt), 3.86, 4
Heat 4
Soren Bucka-Christensen (Tara), 8.10, 1, Jake Owen (Dun), 7.33, 2, Felipe Santos (Dun), 7.17, 3, Campbell Heasley (Chch), 5.16, 4


Open Women’s Division Round 1
Heat 1

Ava Henderson (Chch), 12.67, 1, Estella Hungerford (Chch), 7.17, 2, Leia Millar (Piha), 4.9, 3
Heat 2
Paige Hareb (Tara), 7.77, 1, Georgia Wederell (Mnt), 6.27, 2, Skylar Mcfetridge (Tara), 5.77, 3, Jada Morriss (Chch), 2.2, 4
Heat 3
Asia Braitwaite (Gis), 7, 1, Anna Brock (Mnt), 5.76, 2, Pia Rogers (WGM), 0.7, 3, Stella Smith (Gis), N/S
Heat 4
Brie Bennett (Rag), 13.07, 1, Gabi Paul (Piha), 11.33, 2, Eloise Addison (Chch), 5.13, 3, Amilie Wink (Chch), 3.96, 4
Heat 5
Ariana Shewry (Tara), 13.34, 1, Liv Haysom (Piha), 9.46, 2, Alethea Lock (Chch), 7.34, 3, Lydia Hawes (W.C), 6.63, 4
Heat 6
Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 10.1, 1, Billie Scott (Whngrei), 4.96, 2, Sophia Brock (Mnt), 2.66, 3

Under 18 Boys Round of 28
Heat 1

Soren Bucka-Christensen (Tara), 10.3, 1, Ashton Rogers (WGM), 9.9, 2, Finn Grayswann, 6.47, 3, Ben Fougere (Piha), 3.4, 4
Heat 2
Taj Millar Dal Bosco (WGM), 11.6, 1, Lewis Murphy (Dun), 11, 2, Liam Heasley (Chch), 7.4, 3, Christian Fougere (Piha), 7.1, 4

Under 18 Girls Round of 18
Heat 1

Skylar Mcfetridge (Tara), 9.14, 1, Leia Millar (Piha), 8.24, 2, Rewa Morrison (Chch), 5, 3

Under 16 Boys Round 1
Heat 1

Tai Murphy (Whaka), 14.2, 1, Spencer Rowson (Tara), 13.2, 2, Jordie Luke (Tara), 5.77, 3, Tom Boothroyd (Nel), 3.17, 4
Heat 2
Rakiatea Tau (Chch), 9.17, 1, Manu Roberts (Tai), 8.97, 2, Darcy Dougherty (Chch), 6.43, 3, Keo Morrison (Dun), 3.33, 4
Heat 3
Sonny Lyons (Kaik), 9.27, 1, Christian Fougere (Piha), 8.77, 2, Karne Gabbott (Dun), 8.57, 3, Matthew Stone (Kaik), 4.53, 4
Heat 4
Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 14, 1, Riku Gordon (Mahi), 12.5, 2, Ashton Rogers (WGM), 7.57, 3
Heat 5
Remy Sale (Mnt), 12.3, 1, Beau Woods (Mnt), 11.1, 2, Taj Millar Dal Bosco (WGM), 8.8, 3
Heat 6
Alexis Owen (Dun), 13.16, 1, Mathias Thompson (Piha), 10.83, 2, Soren Bucka-Christensen (Tara), 10.53, 3, Tai McKenzie (Chch), 4.8, 4
Heat 7
Jack Tyro (Chch), 12.2, 1, Tom Robertson (Chch), 9.03, 2, Nate Florence (Tara), 6.54, 3
Heat 8
Will Hardie (Piha), 9.97, 1, Dale Cromhout (Hbay), 9.8, 2, Lewis Murphy (Dun), 7.87, 3, Hunter Lynch (Gis), 4.93, 4

Under 18 Girls Round of 18
Heat 1

Kyra Wallis (Piha), 4.43, 1, Amelie Clarke (Chch), 2.75, 2, Daisy Kay, 1, 3

Under 16 Girls Division Round 2
Heat 1
Skylar Mcfetridge (Tara), 9.84, 1, India Kennings (WGM), 6, 2, Amanda Gouldsbury (Tara), 3.73, 3, Tessa Langman (Chch), 3.7, 4
Heat 2
Leia Millar (Piha), 13.8, 1, Tessa Gabbott (Dun), 5, 2, Rewa Morrison (Dun), 4.86, 3, Amelie Clarke (Chch), 2.93, 4
Heat 3
Poppie Entwistle (Chch), 7.97, 1, Sophia Brock (Mnt), 7.83, 2, Misha Peyroux (Dun), 6.86, 3, Kyra Wallis (Piha), 5.1, 4
Heat 4
Pia Rogers (WGM), 8.23, 1, Lenka Cargill (W.C), 3.23, 2, Sari Ayson (Dun), 3, 3, Olive Entwistle (Chch), 2.43, 4

Further Information
For further information on the 2022 National Surfing Championships please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

Imagery
High resolution action images of the surfing will be available to media free of charge upon request.

Event Hotline
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