New Zealand’s World Surf Games Campaign continues as pressure builds. 

For immediate release

Date: 29th February 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

New Zealand’s World Surf Games Campaign continues as pressure builds.

Kiwi surfer Kehu Butler is keeping his Olympic dreams alive after an excellent performance on day 6 of the ISA World Surfing Games in Puerto Rico.

Peaky, clean, two-to-three-foot surf greeted competitors with the twin breaks of El Pico and Rastrial delivering fun conditions for the women and men to complete the Main and Repechage Rounds.

Billy Stairmand surfed his round 3 heat early Thursday morning against Gabriel Medina, Sebastian Williams and Leo Firovanti putting up 3 scores on the board and looked to be in contention most of the heat with a 6.33 and a 4.5 backup. It was Sebastian Williams of Mexico however with a late run of mid scoring 5s that leap frogged him into second place knocking Billy out of the main round.

On his Round 3 elimination Billy said” Yea today was a tough heat for myself and the team. Losing in the dying seconds is always a tough one to swallow, but I feel good on my equipment and in myself. And I’m still in the repechage”.

Medina showed why he was one of the best in the world with 7 waves to his name including a 7.5 and a 7.80 . Leonardo Fioravanti of Italy was unable to find rhythm with only 3 wavs to his name including a 3.9 and 3.60.

Kehu Butlers main Round 3 heat was the 2nd of the 2 men’s super-heats with Brazilian WSL super star Yago Dora, Carloz Munoz and Lucca Mesinas joining Butler in Heat 5. Butler put on a solid performance with a 6.83 and a 5.90 earning him second place to Yago Dora. Lucca Mesinas came closely in third followed by Carloz Munoz, who just couldn’t get into rhythm for the heat. Butler will surf again in Heat 3 of Round 4, another heat for the ages, Butler will have his work cut out against Australian Ethan Ewing and Indonesian Surfer Rio Waida. Every heat he advances through is a step closer to Olympic Qualification.

Elliot Paerata Reid surfed his final heat of the event in repechage 3 heat 6 going down to Guilherme Fonseca of Portugal and Alan Cleland of Mexico. In a close fought battle, he was not far off the 3.9 required to get him into 2nd place and through to the next round. Unfortunately, it was not to be and in what was looked to be a slow heat he bowed out in 3rd place ahead of American Samoan Liam Wilson.

In the women’s division Saffi, Paige and Pia were all to exit the games in their repechage heats.

Pia Rogers bowed out of the games first, a solid effort from the youngest surfer in the team saw Rogers place first in her opening heat. In round 2 Rogers placed third and was relegated to heat 16 of repechage 2 where she eventually placed fourth.

In repechage 3, Paige Hareb with a 4.5 and a 4.4 under her belt was unable to find the scores required get past American Samoan Lucy Jarrard and her 9.07 heat total. Jasmine Studer of Indonesia took out the heat whilst Sydney Ott of Mexico came in fourth.

Saffi Vette also surfing in the women’s repechage 3 kept her wave count low with just 3 scores on the board. A 4.5 and 3.8 was enough to keep her ahead of Uruguayan Delfina Morosini even with her 8 scored waves. However, Vette was unable to find the 4.81 she needed to progress and surfed her final heat of the 2024 World Surfing Games.

On losing half the team on day 6 Stairmand commented “We are laughing, smiling, supporting each other and there for one another. Team morale has been epic, yes it’s been tough with the losses from the team today, but I think everyone has handled themselves amazingly and am so proud of the whole team. We are a tight nit little family over here and it’s been epic to be around”.

“Puerto itself is a beautiful spot. Fun waves, amazing weather and the people have been very welcoming and supportive. It’s cool to see everyone down the beach enjoying the competition. It’s been a fun week and hopefully myself and Kehu can keep going through the rounds, let’s go team NZ”.

Up again tomorrow in Men’s Repechage 4 heat 3 Billy will surf against Great Britain’s Stanley Norman, Spanish surfer Kai Ordiozola and Sammuel Reidy of Costa Rica. With hopes of keeping his podium finish at the games alive Stairmand commented “Tomorrow is another day and I’m looking forward to leaving it all out there in the ocean”.

New Zealand currently sits 18th at the event which is led by front runners Peru, France, Australia, Brazil and Germany all in equal first position. New Zealand placed 13th in 2023 at the ISA World Surfing Games in El Salvador.

The ISA World Surfing Games are taking place from the 23rd 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

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Author: Dan Westerkamp