Kehu Butlers Olympic dreams dashed after repechage round exit.

For immediate release

3rd  March 2024

From: Surfing New Zealand
Sport: International Surfing
Event: 2024 ISA World Surfing Games
Divisions: Open Men, Open Women
Date: 23rd February – 3rd March 2024
Location: Puerto Rico
Websites: and

Kehu Butlers Olympic dreams dashed after repechage round exit.

Kiwi surfer Kehu Butler’s (Mnt) incredible run at the ISA World Surfing Games has concluded. Overnight Kehu took to the water in Heat 3 of Men’s Repechage 8 with the heavyweights of the surfing world. Yago Dora of Brazil, Ramzi Boukhiam of Morroco and John John Florence- needing no introduction, joined Butler in a heat where Olympic qualification was on the line and ten men were fighting for 5 remaining Olympic qualification spots.

Butler was the last Kiwi standing at the Puerto Rico Olympic qualifier overnight after teammate Billy Stairmand (Rag) fell in Repechage Round 4 finishing the event in 37th place.

Contestable conditions remained for day 8 of the event with waves sitting around the 2 to 4 foot range. Strong trade winds however put a damper on proceedings turning the lineup in to a chunky cross shore mess.

Amongst the slop there were still some gems, more than enough for the surfers to chase their Olympic dreams. Butler however struggled to find the waves to further his campaign, putting a 3.83 a .6 and a 1.80 on the board. Requiring a 9.67 to advance through to the next round it was a feat he was unable to achieve.

Kehu exits the event after an outstanding performance placing 16th in the event and bringing New Zealand team ranking to 18th equal at the time of writing.

John John Florence also struggled to find much scoring potential with 5 waves in his name ranging from 0.4 to 5.6. His backup of 3.5 put him in 3rd place over Butler.

Yago Dora , Brazilian WSL super star and eventual heat winner looked on form as he kept busy putting 8 scores on the board,  advancing through to the next repechage with a 7.5 and a 7.2.

Ramzi Boukhiam Moroccan Olympic surfer, was hot on Dora’s heels finding 6 waves with a 7.6 and a 5.8 putting him narrowly behind the Brazilian powerhouse.

With all Kiwi surfers now out of the event we look to Paris 2024 with surfing being held at Teahupoo in Tahiti.  Our two qualified surfers, Saffi Vette (Gis) and Billy Stairmand (Rag) will head there in August in hope of Olympic Glory.

The ISA World Surfing Games take place from the 23rd of February – 3rd March 2024 with 297 athletes from a record breaking 63 countries in attendance.

Live action from finals day can be viewed via the link below.

For further information regarding the New Zealand Surfing Team please contact Ben Kennings at Surfing New Zealand 0212278732 or email

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


Go to Surfing New Zealand
Author: Dan Westerkamp