Saturday, 6 March 2010

A massive 2.0m - 3.0m swell at Whangamata has tested surfers to their limits on the first day of the Hyundai New Zealand Longboard Championships held today (6th March).

The swell built throughout the day until the entire bay was filled with whitewash. The conditions nearly caused several upsets including defending national champion Daniel Procter who snuck through his third round match up on his last wave moments before the 20 minute heat ended.

Procter was challenged by Lynden Kennings (WGM) who used his local knowledge to its maximum potential scoring 14.8 out of a possible 20 to easily win the heat.  Procter ultimately moved through to the last sixteen surfers scoring 6.17 in his heat to eliminate Trent Dickey (Auck) and Joseph Stewart (Whaka).

Procter will now face fellow Gisborne surfers Sam Johnson and Kelly Ryan along with day one stand out Phil Morris (Auck) in the quarterfinals which will be contested on Sunday morning.

Morris was one of few surfers that attacked the surf during day one completing big manoeuvres on the close out sections of his waves.  Morris scored 17.5 in his third round match up for an easy victory over Thomas Kibblewhite and 2007 Hyundai Pro Longboard Tour champion Daniel Kereopa (Rag) who was eliminated from the event.

Other surfers to win their third round match ups included Matt Cockayne (Auck), Dylan Barnfield (Ohope), Owen Barnes (Mnt), Duncan Cameron (Mnt), Ant McColl and Kelly Ryan (Gis).

The finalists were found in the Open Womenís Division with defending champion Daisy Thomas (Chch) moving through to the last four surfers along with 2007 Champion Anna Jolly (Piha).

Thomas scored 9.00 to win her heat over Jolly (8.30).  In the other semifinal it was current Hyundai Pro Longboard Tour ratings leader Mischa Davis (Piha) who advanced alongside Denise Piper (Whangarei), together eliminating Anna Gooding (Mnt).

The age group divisions confronted the conditions with gusto riding some big waves throughout the day. Ratings leader in the Over 40 Menís Division, Grant Cochrane (Chch) moved through his early match up against 2009 tour winner Lynden Kennings (WGM). Kennings, who missed the third event of the tour two weeks ago is still searching for his first win of the year after p lacing second to Brendon Young at Sandy Bay at the start of February.  Cochrane on the other hand is out to defend his lead going into the last event of the year at Port Waikato in three weeks time.

Cochrane also led the way in the Over 50 Menís Division placing first in his heat to move through to the semifinals.  Other heat winners included Viv Treacy (Whangarei), Michael Thomson (Rag) and Rupert Newbold (Whangarei).

Surf conditions are expected to be similar on Sunday for the final day of the event.  The swell may build further and a wind change to the southwest is forecast. All competitors will meet at 8.00am to confirm the running order of events. The finals are expected to be completed by 3.00pm.


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