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Westport Champions Chat- Pia Rogers

Title: Under 16 Girls National Champ

Have you ever won a New Zealand National Title before? (If so, what was it?)
Not in surfing but I have won a previous National Title in 2017. I won the junior cadet National Title in sports aerobics.

Any comps this year that you hope to repeat your success in?
I hope to repeat my success in the Billabong Grom Series mostly but also just aiming to make the finals and to take every comp as it comes.

Photo Courtesy of NZ Surf Journal

What are a few of your surfing goals for 2022?
My main surfing goal this year is just to improve as an all-rounded surfer and hopefully make 3 in the Surfing Nz rankings by the end of this year.

How does it feel to be the National champion at the Westport Nats in 2022, has it sunk in yet?
haha no it definitely hasn’t sunk in yet. It honestly just feels good to know that you have accomplished something so big.

Did you do any training coming up to the nationals, anything you did different from your normal routine?
No real hard-core training. Just surfing as much as possible in between work which I think weirdly helped me in my success to focus more in a way.

Going into the final did you feel pressure to win, were you nervous?
Going into the under 16 finals I definitely felt the pressure from myself especially. I think it may be because of my result in the open, also just wanting to prove myself.

What was going through your head as you paddled out for the final, did you have a plan?
Paddling out for the final I kind of had a plan for where I was going to sit but that ended up changing once the heat had started.

When the final hooter went how did you feel, did you know that you had just won a National Title?
When the hooter went for the heat to end I was surprisingly accepting of how i might have done because the official results hadn’t come through yet. I was on the beach when they announced that I got the score I needed on my last wave, and I was so stoked.

Photo Courtesy of NZ Surf Journal

Anyone you would like to thank?
I would like to thank surfing New Zealand and all the officials for the hard work they do to get the comps up and running. All the locals for giving up their waves for the week. Everyone back here in Whangamata for the endless support and Whangamata academy and Whangamata board riders and also my family.

What did you think of Westport, will you be back?
I loved it! The weather was really nice which I heard is rare and you could always find some waves up or down the coast if you wanted to.

What was your favourite thing about the Westport Nationals in 2022?
My favorite thing was definitely the location and how convenient and beautiful everything was.

Lastly, Will you be back to defend your title in 2023?
Most definitely!!


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Author: Dan Westerkamp