Early Battle Lines Drawn at New Zealand Club Championships

Impressive surfing and excellent waves have given New Zealand’s top boardrider clubs the perfect platform to open the 2024 Hurley New Zealand Club Championships presented by Volkswagen which commenced at Whangamata today (Saturday 13th April).

Ten clubs from around the country have fought out the first day of the event in clean 1.5m waves staking their claim for the chance to represent New Zealand at the Usher Cup in Australia in 2025.

The individual heats were surfed through to the finals in all but the Open Men’s Division on day one leaving the all-important tag team component for the final day on Sunday when the swell is expected to reboot again with perfect offshore winds.

Mount Maunganui’s Bay Boardriders and Piha’s Keyhole Boardriders take a healthy lead into the final day but the two teams are separated by 33 points – 8,488 v 8450.  Both teams retained four of their five team members in the event at the end of day one.  The two front runners are followed closely by newcomers Tairua in third place and 2022 champions Point Boardriders of Raglan in fourth.

Perfect surfing from Keyhole’s Elliot Paerata – Reid highlighted the afternoon’s action, the New Zealand representative completing a full rotation air for a 10 point ride and 18.27 point heat total.  In the high scoring quarterfinals it was Oakura Boardriders surfer Tom Butland and Bay Boardriders Alex Dive that also won their heats to advance to the semifinals.

Keyhole Boardriders dominated in the Open M=Women’s Division with Leia Millar looking strong on her way to the finals which will be contested early on Sunday morning.  The young surfer opened with a 15.43 heat total and then bettered that in the semifinals with a 15.90 point heat total to advance through both of her heats in first place.

Following on from Millar as top performing young females was Oakura Boardriders Club surfer Poppy Entwisle who stunned her opponents in the semifinals with a 15.10 point heat total after annihilating two waves on her backhand.  Entwisle joins Millar in the final where they will face off against the smooth-surfing Waihi Beach Boardriders surfer Gace Spiers and Elin Tawharu from Bay Boardriders.  Tawharu is fresh off an NZ Surf Series win last weekend and showed great tenacity to fight her way into the finals today defeating North Coast Boardrider team member Indi-Lee Ruddell.

Tai Murphy kept Bay Boardriders atop the team rankings in the Under 18 Division surfing to the highest heat score of the division – 17.96 out of a possible 20 points.  The goofy footer attacked the right handers with speed, power and flow, surfing to the criteria with perfection.  Murphy is joined in the final by Theo Morse (Point Boardriders, Raglan), Christian Fougere (Keyhole) and Manu Roberts out of Tairua Boardriders who are competing at the event for the first time this year.

Host’s Whangamata had a tough day of surfing but Jos Kennings advanced through to the final of the Over 40 Men’s Division to help them push up from the bottom of the rankings at day’s end.  Owen Barnes (Bay Boardriders) was another to perform in the round advancing to the final as did Larry Fisher (Point Boardriders) and Liam Joyce (Keyhole) who’s result added to the Keyhole point tally.

The tag team format is the essence of the event and will be where clubs make their move on the final day.  The tag team event involves all five surfers in the team going out in succession with their best one wave counting toward their heat total.  A win in the tag team component of the event is worth 50% of the points up for grabs and ultimately decides the champion club.  This will make the final day of the event crucial for front runners and those clubs looking to jump up the rankings.

Sunday action will take place from 8am with individual finals contested from 8:45am before the team surfing starts at 10am and runs through until 3:30pm.

Full results from the first day of the 2024 Hurley New Zealand Boardrider Club Championships presented by Volkswagen can be viewed here – https://liveheats.com/events/230387.

Team Standings
1. Bay Boardriders, 8488
2. Keyhole Boardriders, 8450
3. Tairua Boardriders, 7920
4. Point Boardriders, 7900
5. Oakura Boardriders, 7615
6. Waihi Beach Boardriders, 7218
7. Whangamata Boardriders, 6905
8. North Coast Boardriders, 6608
9. Maori Bay Boardriders, 6530
10. Lion Rock Boardriders, 6455

Further Information
For further information on the 2024 Hurley New Zealand Club Championships presented by Volkswagen, please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

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

Generous support from Hurley, Volkswagen and Trillian Trust has made the event possible.

Surfing New Zealand is proudly partnered by:
Sport New Zealand
NZ Community Trust
Sun Bum


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Author: Ben Kennings