Cranch Cup Goes to Mount Maunganui and Whangamata

The Cranch Cup has gone to the coastal schools of Mount Maunganui and Whangamata at the inaugural New Zealand School Surfing Festival held at Maori Bay, Muriwai Beach, Auckland this week.

Mount Maunganui College claimed the title for the girls division while Whangamata Area School claimed the title for the boys.  Their respective boys and girls teams placed second, highlighting the strength of both regions in the junior ranks.

Auckland’s Mahurangi College stormed to victory in the plate division of the boys to cap off a great two days of action on Auckland’s West Coast.

Maori Bay turned on some great conditions for the final day of the event with clean 1.0m – 1.5m waves and offshore winds for most of the day.  The conditions allowed for high performance surfing across the board in the Cup and Plate rounds after participants endured challenging conditions on day one.

The girls team for Mount Maunganui College edged past Whangamata Area School on two occasions on the final day.  In the second round, the difference between the two teams was managing their surfers well and finding the right waves as team captain Sophia Brock highlighted.

“Our main strategy was to get the waves that had good scoring potential and ensuring we didn’t finish with a time penalty,” she said.  “Our team culture had been awesome all week, so leading into the final the vibes were high and then after the win on the way home in the van, there was certainly a good buzz,” she added.

“It was a whole team effort for us with great support from our coaches and teachers.  Most surfing comps are individual events, so it was good to see another team event on the calendar, they are fun and exciting to be a part of.”

Whangamata Area School had to settle for second place on both occasions in the girls division, pushing the Mount but coming up just short.  Green Bay High School finished third in girls division with the West Coast experience showing through and Trident High School from Whakatane finishing in fourth with an excellent effort that pushed the girls boundaries.

The boys team for Whangamata Area School got to reverse the results of the girls division with a well-deserved win.  Despite confidence being high after an impressive performance in the semifinals, the nerves were still there for the team.

“The tag team format is always more nerve wracking because you are not just surfing for yourself and you don’t want to let down your team,” said captain Manu Roberts.

“We approached the final with a focus of getting quick mid-range scores to build pressure and leaving plenty of time for our last two surfers to try and find  bigger scores if needed,” he added.

The strategy paid off with the lead becoming significant and by the time the final surfers were out in the water, Mount Maunganui College needed an 8.16 point ride to win and they came up just short with the highest wave of the final – 7.33 points.

“It was cool to share the win with the team and our whole academy who were supporting us, we were all pretty frothing,” added Roberts.

The final scores were 22.63 vs 21.80 in the final.  Gisborne Boys High School finished third overall after an outstanding semifinal and almost being bundled into the plate round early on.  It was a great result from the East Coast Team who edged past North Shore’s Takapuna Grammar due to a five-point penalty for not making it back to the team tents in the allotted 50 minutes.

Takapuna Grammar was another standout team who, alongside Gisborne Boys High School, eliminated the top two seeds in New Plymouth Boys High School and Tauranga Boys College in the semifinals.

The festival included a plate round to promote surfing throughout as many schools as possible and it was amazing to see a number of new faces and school surfing teams take up the challenge of the event.  Mahurangi College claimed the plate round over a young Opunake High School who had a roller coaster run through the event.  Trident High School finished third with Western Springs College placing fourth and also picking up the Sun Bum Team Spirit Award.

The Volkswagen Highest Single Wave Score Award went to Poppy Arkle of Green Bay High School for an 8.17 point ride in the final.

Sixteen schools and a total of 20 teams took part in the inaugural event which was held as part of School Sport New Zealand’s Summer Tournament Week alongside over forty other sports held throughout the country.

Full results from the inaugural New Zealand School Surfing Festival can be viewed here –

The Cranch Cup was awarded in honour school surfing stalwart Carol Cranch who instigated the New Zealand school surfing programme in the late 80s with the formation of the Scholastic Championships.  Cranch was responsible for the development of numerous top level surfers around the country and was one of the founding promoters of the World Grommet Titles which ultimately morphed into the ISA World Junior Championships.

Further Information
For further information on the 2024 New Zealand School Surfing Festival please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email

Event details
Please visit for full results from 2024 New Zealand School Surfing Festival.

This will be distributed free of charge from each event.  Please contact Ben Kennings for further details.

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

Follow the event
Follow the action via social media – @surfingnz across TikTok , Facebook, Instagram and X.  Follow the hashtag #nzschoolsurffest and #schoolsportnewzealand

Surfing New Zealand are proudly partnered by:

Sport NZ
NZ Community Trust
Sun Bum


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Author: Ben Kennings