National Scholastic Surfing Championship: Bay of Plenty secures supremacy

Bay of Plenty has defended their title at the National Scholastic Surfing Championship after two of their competitors placed first and fourth in the Under 18 Boys division - the last to be contested at the event this afternoon (Friday 8th October).

The final day of the event played out in clean 1.0m waves at Makorori Beach, Gisborne for the fourth straight day.

The title defence looked under threat when results started to turn on Bay of Plenty during the early stages of the final day but they came back with wins in the Under 18 Boys Division through JC Susan and also the Bodyboard Division through Jamee Smith.

"We have won two years in a row now so we are stoked" commented Susan on the team effort. "I am stoked with my performance as well, I have been struggling all week with my surfing but it was good to put everything together in the final, it is a good achievement for me" added Susan.

The nature of the Scholastic Championships has teams of twelve surfers competing as individuals but more importantly as team mates for their region. It is a different approach for surfing where most surfers enter events as individuals. Senior Bay of Plenty team member JC Susan highlighted how his team operated throughout the week.

"It was great to surf for the team, we had heaps of support throughout the week, good cooking from the parents and Matt Hewitt, our coach, has been good with all of his competitive experience that he passed on to us" said Susan. "It showed with all the good results we got and ultimately the defence of the title".

Taranaki, who went into the final day of the event atop the points table were relegated to second despite also winning two divisions.

Going into the final day of the event, Taranaki had ten surfers alive in the event with four progressing through to the finals.

Sean Kettle was the giant killer for the Taranaki team winning the Under 16 Boys Division over Auckland's Tane Wallis, Waikato's Ben Poulter and Bay of Plenty's Peri Matenga.

"It was good to win and beat Ben (Poulter) and Tane (Wallis). It gives me heaps of confidence, I have never beaten them before so I am stoked" said a modest Kettle.

Despite finishing in second place just missing out on the first title ever for the region, a second placing was a great result and a major jump from their eighth placing in 2009.

Kettle put the team performance down to coaching received before the event and the support they gave each other all week long.

His team mate and silent assassin Te Rapai Barbarich - Love won the Under 14 Boys Division after scoring a 6.70 point ride late in the heat for victory. It was his first win at a national level. While talking to the young surfer on the day prior to the finals he had sheepishly said that he wanted to win the event and his positive thinking obviously paid off.

"I am stoking, so happy" said a quiet Barbarich - Love of his win. "I had an easy final, I had a peak to myself and no one wanted to sit on me and that allowed me to get those two good scoring rides while the others fought it out on the other peak" added Barbarich - Love.

The Auckland region was another team that shone at this event placing third overall - the same result as 2009. Despite having five finalists the team could only manage the one title in the Under 14 Girls Division through Gabriela Sansom. Auckland also enjoyed runner up finishes by Rosa Thompson in the Under 18 Girls and Tane Wallis in the Under 16 Boys.

Fourth placed Coromandel secured two wins through their girls and lifted one place from 2009. Grace Spiers dominated the Under 18 Girls Division while Ella Williams had to work hard for a come-from-behind win in the Under 16 Girls Division.

"I was so stoked, it was my first win all year" said Spiers. "I went out pretty relaxed and the waves came my way which is good".

"We have had two firsts, a second and a third so we should get a decent result out of that" commented Spiers prior to finding out they missed out on a podium finish by less than 500 points.

Williams was also happy with her result and the way the Coromandel team competed throughout the week. "We surf hard and we get out there whenever there is surf" said Williams. "I like events like this, our team is tight knit and it shows in our results which are great for such a small region" she added.

The local Gisborne surf team pushed through to fifth place, one spot down from 2009. The region's best results came through the under 18 divisions with a runner up placing by Jacob Kohn and a third by Abi Daunton.

Canterbury rounded out the top six regions with three finalists and an event champion in Luke O'Neill, the smooth longboarder. O'Neill thrashed his opponents in the final scoring 9.0 and 7.9 point rides to best Hone Douglas (BOP), Joseph Stewart (BOP) and Sunny Brown (Gis).

Please see below for final results from the National Scholastic Surfing Championships completed at Makorori Beach, Gisborne today (Friday 7th October).

Team Points
1, Bay of Plenty, 16665
2, Taranaki, 16034
3, Auckland, 15463
4, Coromandel, 14971
5, Gisborne, 14395
6, Canterbury, 14013
7, Northland, 12153
8, Waikato, 11015
9, Hawkes Bay, 9500
10, Wellington, 5388
11, Otago, 3100

Under 18 Boys Semifinals
Heat 1
Jacob Kohn (Gis), 1, JC Susan (BOP), 2, Tyler Lawson (Hbay), 3, Sam Courtney (Cant), 4
Heat 1
Cody McCusker (Cant), 1, Todd Doyle (BOP), 2, Sid West (Auck), 3, Joe Moretti (Nrthlnd), 4

Under 18 Boys Final
JC Susan (BOP), 1, Jacob Kohn (Gis), 2, Cody McCusker (Cant), 3, Todd Doyle (BOP), 4

U16 Boys Semifinals
Heat 1
Ben Poulter (Wai), 1, Tane Wallis (Auck), 2, Fintan Cram (Coro), 3, Eli McDonald (Tara), 4
Heat 2
Sean Kettle (Tara), 1, Peri Matenga (BOP), 2, Paul Moretti (Nrthlnd), 3, Ware Wano (Auck), 4

U16 Boys Grand Final
Sean Kettle (Tara), 1, Tane Wallis (Auck), 2, Ben Poulter (Wai), 3, Peri Matenga (BOP), 4

Under 14 Boys Semifinals
Heat 1
Dune Kennings (Coro), 1, Te Rapai Barbarich - Love (Tara), 2, Matt Hansen (BOP), 3, Mackenzie Bowden (Coro), 4
Heat 2
Mahorahora McLeod (Tara), 1, Jordan Griffin (BOP), 2, Matthew McGregor (Nrthlnd), 3, Toa MacDonald (Tara), 4

Under 14 Boys Final
Te Rapai Barbarich Love (Tara), 1, Dune Kennings (Coro), 2, Jordan Griffin (BOP), 3, Mahorahora McLeod (Tara), 4

Under 18 Girls Semifinals
Heat 1
Rosa Thompson (Auck), 1, Tessa Randrup (Wai), 2, Kendra Hartley (Tara), 3, Kristi Zarifeh (Cant), 4
Heat 2
Abi Daunton (Gis), 1, Grace Spiers (Coro), 2, Emma Philson (Coro), 3, Casey Stevens (Tara), 4

Under 18 Girls Final
Grace Spiers (Coro), 1, Rosa Thompson (Auck), 2, Abi Daunton (Gis), 3, Tessa Randrup (Wai), 4

Under 16 Girls Requalify 1
Ella Spiers (Coro), 1, Eloise Stevens (Tara), 2, Maiya Thompson (Auck), 3

Under 16 Girls Final
Ella Williams (Coro), 1, Alethea Lock (Chch), 2, Ella Spiers (Coro), 3, Eloise Stevens (Tara), 4

Under 14 Girls Requalify 1
Bianca Sansom (Auck), 1, Hannah Kohn (Auck), 2, Nam Northcott (Tara), 3, Demi Hewitt (BOP), 4

Under 14 Girls Final
Gabriela Sansom (Auck), 1, Jasmine Smith (Gis), 2, Bianca Sansom (Auck), 3, Hannah Kohn (Auck), 4

Under 18 Longboard Requalify 1
Joseph Stewart (BOP), 1, Sunny Brown (Gis), 2, Blake Zuill (Auck), 3, Jae Kilgour (Dun), 4

Under 18 Longboard Final
Luke O'Neill (ChCh), 1, Hone Douglas (Whtane), 2, Joseph Stewart (BOP), 3, Sunny Brown (Gis)

Under 18 Bodyboard Grand Final
Jamee Smith (BOP), 1, Kamen Geiseler (Gis), 2, Dayne Williams (Nrthlnd), 3

Nelscott Reef: no jet skis in da house

Nelscott Reef promoters revealed the new web page for the 2010 Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic, confirming that this year’s event will indeed be a paddle in only event. The web page launch also coincides with the opening of the 3 month holding period.

As previously announced, the Nelscott Reef contest changed from a tow in event to a paddle in event. This change was brought on from pressure from the competitors after the previous years contests gave them a taste of paddling in to some Nelscott bombs.

“The guys would rather paddle than tow, and they proved it can be done”, said event founder, John Forse.

The 2010 Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic is also participating as a stop on Gary Linden’s Big Wave World Tour. The tour includes four other events in Chile, Peru, Mexico, and California. 2010 will be the second season for the tour, which will grow from 4 events to 5, including Nelscott Reef.

The Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic continues to attract the top names in big wave surfing from around the world. Changing from a tow in event to a paddle in event offers organizers some new talent for this year. Along with Nelscott veterans, there are a lot of surfers competing at Nelscott for the first time.

“I have a lot of respect for some of the older guys we invited that have chosen to step aside and let some of the up and coming talent take a turn”, said John Forse. “People like Gary Linden and Ross Clarke Jones have given up their spots for younger surfers to have a chance. It is the ultimate show of sportsmanship in my opinion”.

The Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic will continue to operate on a traffic light system during the holding period. Red represents no favorable conditions in the near future. Organizers will change to yellow status if they spot a forecast for favorable conditions. If the event is called, the status will change to green and competitors will have 48 hours to make it to Lincoln City, OR.

This system has worked well in the past, as the event has been held on what turned out to be the best days of each of the past five years.

The Nelscott Reef web page contains the most up to date information on the event. People can sign up for email alerts as well. The Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic is honored and proud be a part of the Big Wave World Tour and promote big wave surfing

This years invitees are:

Carlos Burle
Mark Healey
Chris Bertish
Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker
Peter Mel
Shane Desmond
Greg Long
Shane Dorian
Grant Washburn
Jamie Sterling
Anthony Tashnick
Ramon Navarro
Gabriel Villaran
Tim West
Danilo Couto
Tyler Smith
Shawn Dollar
Travis Payne
Josiah Schmucker
Chad Jackson
Steve Harnack
Rusty Long
Zach Wormhoudt
Tyler Fox

Jack Freestone: party time

Australian surfers Jack Freestone (AUS), 18, and Tyler Wright (AUS), 16, have shot to an early ratings lead in the race for the undisputed men’s and women’s ASP World Junior Titles, after claiming respective wins at the Oakley ASP World Pro Junior, event no.1 on the ASP World Junior Tour (WJT), in pumping 4-6ft (1.5-2m) waves in Bali today.

Despite a torrential downpour and onshore winds at the start of play, Keramas turned it on for the world’s best junior surfers, with the quarters, semis and finals of both the men’s and women’s divisions being completed in an absolute tube fest.

The day’s surfing representing a new benchmark for high-performance junior surfing and an accurate gauge on the future stars of the sport.

Australian junior surfing sensation Freestone was the first winner of the day, beating Dale Staples (ZAF), 19, in a thrilling finale to the men’s division.

In an extended 35-minute final, Freestone came out firing, jagging the first set wave before slotting through a hollow Keramas tube to jag an excellent scoring 9.57 (out of a possible 10).

In the driver’s seat, Freestone added to his two-wave tally with a 4.27 to setup a strong lead for the majority of the final.

But in a dramatic ending, Freestone could only watch on as Staples exercised his priority.

With 15 seconds remaining, Staples snared one of the waves of the day, driving through its cavernous barrel before unfortunately being clipped on the way out.

“I’m so happy, I can’t speak right now,” said Freestone. “That was so crazy that end bit. I thought Dale (Staples) made that barrel. It was so scary. I’m so happy.”

Freestone finishing with a 13.84 two-wave combined total (out of a possible 20) to collect US$10,000 and 10,000 rankings points for his win.

At finals end, a victorious Freestone was chaired from the water where his family and a large crowd of spectators greeted him.

“That’s the best win of my life,” he said. “Every heat I surfed was hard, but it was so worth it. I’m so stoked.”

Freestone’s win also signified the best result for a male Australian junior surfer at the prestigious event for some years.

The young Gold Coast ace, who groomed his surfing in the high performance waves of Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast, had no easy run to the final, having earlier disposed of Nat Young (USA) in the quarters, Caio Ibelli (BRA) in the semis, before toppling Staples (ZAF) in the decider.

Staples, who could only manage an 8.44 total, which included a 5.67 and a 2.77, said he was happy with the result despite finishing in the runner-up position.

“I was just really stoked to be out there and get a good result,” said Staples, who won US$5,000 for his efforts. “A second is still a really good result. I’ m just happy to beat some of the best junior surfers in the world. Anyone could have been in that final.”

Staples admitted that he was anxious heading into the later stages of the finale.

“I was really nervous,” he said. “I was waiting for a set wave all final. But it didn’t come until the end. I was hoping the last one would open up but it didn’t.”

Staples, who resides in St Francis Bay in South Africa, heads to event no.2 on the ASP WJT sitting in second on the rankings with 8,000 points.

In a low scoring opening semi-final, Freestone dispatched of Caio Ibelli (BRA), finishing with a 12.84 two-wave combined total to Ibelli’s 11.83.

After both surfers scored 7’s on their opening rides, Freestone waited patiently for his second scoring ride of a 5.67 (out of a possible 10), while Ibelli exchanged boards after creasing his craft.

In the box seat and holding the lead within the final stages, Freestone experienced a nerve racking finish to the 30-minute semi, with Ibelli needing a midrange 5.34.

Ibelli catching multiple inside waves, but to no avail. The talented Brazilian finishing the event in equal 3rd position, accruing 6,500 ranking points and US$3,000 prize money.

Semifinal two was just as talent packed, with Staples edging out Mitch Crews (AUS) in the final 5-minutes of their semi showdown.

Crews dominated the initial exchanges, netting a 6.83 and an 8.50 to hold the lead for the majority of the semi.

But Staples kicked into gear. With 7-minutes to go and holding priority, Staples dropped into a reeling Keramas wave, driving through the barrel before exiting to post a winning 9.33 (out of a possible 10).

Crews departing in equal 3rd place. In doing so, he collected 6,500 ranking points and US$3,000 prize money.

Finishing in equal 5th today, were Nat Young (USA), Conner Coffin (USA), Kiron Jabour (HAW) and Evan Thompson (USA), all eliminated in the morning’s quarter-finals.

In the women’s side of the draw, Wright signalled her intentions for the ASP Women’s World Junior title, defeating Alizee Arnaud – 13.40 to 12.67, in a tight final.

“It was a really tough battle out there,” said Wright, who won US$5,000 and gained 10,000 ranking points. “Alizee (Arnaud) was ripping and got two early scores on me. I knew I needed to step it up on my next waves so I just went for it. I’m so happy.”

Trailing with just under 5-minutes to go, Wright bounced back with a 7.50 to hold on for a narrow victory.

The Australian star, who lives in Lennox Head, Australia on the Northern NSW coastline, dominated every heat from Round 1 to the final, notching some of the highest scores of each round.

Finishing in equal 3rd, were Sage Erickson (USA) and Airini Mason (NZL), who where both eliminated in their particular semi-finals.

Earlier in the day, reigning ASP Women’s World Junior Champion Laura Enever (AUS) was ousted by Arnaud (FRA) in a one-sided quarter-final affair.

Focus now turns to event no.2 on the ASP WJT, starting on January 8th, 2011 at Narrabeen in Australia.

1 – Jack Freestone (AUS) 13.84
2 – Dale Staples (ZAF) 8.44