NZ junior surfers: doing crazy things in small waves

The country's hottest junior surfing talent zoned in on Gisborne today for the first of five intense days of competition at the National Scholastic Surfing Championships.

Twelve representative teams from all over New Zealand fronted for the event, Makorori Beach the venue, turning on great conditions with 1.0m waves and light winds all day.

It is the 22nd time the annual event has taken place with the honours board, across the eight divisions contested, listing the who's who of the country's best surfers.The boys divisions occupied the first day of action with the Under 18, Under 16 and Under 14 Boys all surfing their first round heats.

Defending champions Bay of Plenty have yet again fielded a strong team led by injured team coach and ex national champion Matt Hewitt. The team comprises New Zealand representatives JC Susan and team captain Todd Doyle, two surfers that shone through the pack in the first round.

"We have some good talent in our team at the moment, we should do pretty well this year" exclaimed Doyle.

"Peri Matenga is solid and we have a good bodyboarder (Jamee Smith) this year and little Jordan Griffin will be strong in the Under 14 boys too".

Doyle himself scored 12.25 points out of a possible 20 to win his first round heat over Canterbury surfer Hugh Ritchie in second and local surfer James Curle in third. "There is some pretty good competition around, I will just have to see how I go" commented Doyle adding "I have got some good boards under my feet and I am feeling pretty confident" as he looks toward his second round match up.

Doyle's team mate JC Susan also scored highly with an 8.5 on his first wave which was the highest single wave score of the day. Other Bay of Plenty surfers to progress included the four under 16 boys - Peri Matenga, Mac Christie, Kahu Craig - Ranga and Levi Stewart.

Hawkes Bay surfer Tyler Lawson was another surfer to impress early posting 12.5 for his heat win setting the standard for his team of nine surfers. "It was fun out there today" said Lawson. "I definitely want to improve on last years result when I placed fourth in the Under 16 Boys Division".

Lawson was joined by team mates Ian Wessels and William Brown the two surfers also moving through to the second round in their respective divisions.

Big heat winners in the Under 18 Boys Division included Fraser Chatham (Coromandel), Jacob Kohn (Gis), Nat Hughes (Waikato), Matt Smith (Tara) and Joe Moretti (Northland) proving that this year's event has the most even spread of talent in years.

The performance of the Taranaki team hinged on their under 16 boys who all moved through their heats on day one. Sean Kettle led the charge posting 13.25 points in his heat - the highest heat score of the day. Kettle left nothing to chance going for huge turns that ultimately netted him single wave scores of 7.25 and 6.0.

Kettle was joined by his older brother Josh Kettle and Eli McDonald as the Taranaki surfers to move through the first round along with Matt Smith in the Under 18 Boys Division.

"Most of our guys are through and we want to go for the title this year" commented Kettle of his Taranaki team who placed seventh in 2009.

Of his own performance, Kettle said that he felt no pressure out there in his heat and simply "went out there to do the basics" adding "there are heaps of guys to watch out for in the Under 16s. Obviously guys like Ben Poulter (Wai) 'cos he got sixth at the worlds this year and all the other top seeds like Tane (Wallis) and stuff."

Wallis was one of five Auckland surfers who surfed to a perfect start as they all progressed through to the second round. Wallis was joined by Waretini Wano, Taylor Louie, Stefan Gross and Sid West.

The local Gisborne team found the going tough on the first day with several surfers being pushed back to the requalifying round. However, with all surfers getting a second chance after the first round, the team remains alive in their bid to be victorious on home soil.

"Our team is not at full strength this year so we will all have to perform out our absolute best to get a good result at this event" said team captain Jacob Kohn.

Kohn was one Gisborne surfer that impressed in the Under 18 Boys Division but he was quick to highlight his team mates Johnny (Curle) and Jules (Craft) that also progressed through their heats.

Late in the day the Under 14 Boys Division kicked off with Te Rapai Barbarich - Love (Tara), Mackenzie Bowden (Coro) and Joe Palmer (Nrthlnd).

The second day of competition is likely to see the girls divisions hit the water as well as the first elimination rounds of the boys divisions where team points will start to change.

Please see below for results from day one of the National Scholastic Surfing Championships held at Makorori Beach, Gisborne today.

Under 18 Boys Round 1
Heat 1
JC Susan (BOP), 1, Stefan Gross (Auck), 2, Tom Bracegirdle (Ota), 3
Heat 2
Tyler Lawson (Hbay), 1, Ian Wessels (Hbay), 2, Toby Watt (Tara), 3, Tyler Barry (Wai), 4
Heat 3
Fraser Chatham (Coro), 1, Sam Courtney (Cant), 2, Myles Owen (Hbay), 3, Darcy
Bowden (Nrthlnd), 4
Heat 4
Jacob Kohn (Gis), 1, Cody McCusker (Cant), 2, Yohan Wards (Hbay), 3, Mark Mear (Coro), 4
Heat 5
Todd Doyle (BOP), 1, Hugh Ritchie (Cant), 2, Jamie Curle (Gis), 3
Heat 6
Nat Hughes (Wai), 1, Ethan Burge (Wgtn), 2, Alex Seymour (Nrthlnd), 3, Jordan Dyer (Hbay), 4
Heat 7
Matt Smith (Tara), 1, Sid West (Auck), 2, Geordi Dearns (Ota), 3, Jonty Coats - Harrison (Hbay), 4
Heat 8
Joe Moretti (Nrthlnd), 1, Taylor McNeil (Cant), 2, Jack Hunt (Gis), 3

Under 18 Boys Requalify Round 1 (To be surfed on Wednesday)
Heat 1
Tom Bracegirdle (Ota), Toby Watt (Tara), Darcy Bowden (Nrthlnd), Mark Mear (Coro)
Heat 2
Tyler Barry (Wai), Myles Owen (Hbay), Yohan Wards (Hbay)
Heat 3
Jamie Curle (Gis), Alex Seymour (Nrthlnd), Jonty Coats - Harrison (Hbay)
Heat 4
Jordan Dyer (Hbay), Geordi Dearns (Ota), Jack Hunt (Gis)

Under 16 Boys Round 1
Heat 1
Ben Poulter (Wai), 1, William Brown (Hbay), 2, Tai Garrick (Coro), 3
Heat 2
Levi Stewart (BOP), 1, Wiremu Ormsby (Wai), 2, Jacob Steens (Wai), 3
Heat 3
Jules Craft (Gis), 1, Mac Christie (BOP), 2, Logan Owen (Hbay), 3, Lewi Barr-Brown (Wgtn), 4
Heat 4
Fintan Cram (Coro), 1, Fraser Seymour (Nrthlnd), 2, Corey Asplin (Wai), 3, Zack Humwick (Wai), 4
Heat 5
Tane Wallis (Auck), 1, Max Cooke (Cant), 2, Dougal Hunt (Gis), 3
Heat 6
Paul Moretti (Nrthlnd), 1, Jonny Curle (Gis), 2, Jack Hawke (Cant), 3
Heat 7
Kahu Craig-Ranga (BOP), 1, Josh Kettle (Tara), 2, Jake Saunders (Wgtn), 3, Jordan Bailey (Wgtn), 4
Heat 8
Eli McDonald (Tara), 1, Peri Matenga (BOP), 2, Dylan Tarrant (Wai), 3
Heat 9
Sean Kettle (Tara), 1, Taylor Louie (Auck), 2, Jack Treacy (Nrthlnd), 3, Thomas Lafont (Wgtn), 4
Heat 10
Billy Harmon (Cant), 1, Ware Wano (Auck), 2, Patrick Cranston (Gis), 3

Under 16 Boys Requalify 1 (To be surfed on Wednesday)
Heat 1
Tai Garrick (Coro), Logan Owen (Hbay), Zack Humwick (Wai)
Heat 2
Jacob Steens (Wai), Corey Asplin (Wai), Lewi Barr-Brown (Wgtn)
Heat 3
Dougal Hunt (Gis), Jake Saunders (Wgtn)
Heat 4
Jack Treacy (Nrthlnd), Jack Hawke (Cant)
Heat 5
Dylan Tarrant (Wai), Jordan Bailey (Wgtn), Patrick Cranston (Gis), Thomas Lafont (Wgtn)

Under 18 Girls Round 1 (To be surfed on Wednesday)
Heat 1
Rosa Thompson (Auck), Gia Garrick (Coro), Kendra Hartley (Tara)
Heat 2
Tessa Randrup (Wai), Abi Daunton (Gis), Kristi Zarifeh (Cant), Casey Stevens (Tara)
Heat 3
Grace Spiers (Coro), Emma Philson (Coro), Hannah Moreley (Hbay)

Under 16 Girls Round 1 (To be surfed on Wednesday)
Heat 1
Ella Williams (Coro), Maiya Thompson (Auck)
Heat 2
Alethea Lock (Chch), Ella Spiers (Coro), Eloise Stevens (Tara)

U14 Girls Round 1 (To be surfed on Wednesday)
Heat 1
Gabriela Sansom (Auck), Demi Hewitt (BOP), Nam Northcott (Tara)
Heat 2
Hannah Kohn (Auck), Bianca Sansom (Auck), Jasmine Smith (Gis)

Under 18 Boys Longboard Round 1 (To be surfed on Wednesday)
Heat 1
Jae Kilgour (Dun), Joseph Stewart (BOP), Blake Zuill (Auck)
Heat 2
Hone Douglas (Whtane), Luke O'Neill (ChCh), Sunny Brown (Gis)

The Seaglass Project - Tuna: back to basics

One of our goals here at GSI is to push the boundaries of surfing craft. We invest a lot into researching and developing news technologies and new experiences for all levels of surfing.

Over the past 18 months we have been working with Tom Wegener and together we would like to invite you to put yourself out there and experience something new... The Seaglass Project - Tuna.

Tom has a great love for the ancient Hawaiian Alaia surfboard, he has been researching, shaping and riding them for years.

Now riding a true Alaia proficiently can take a while to master, but The Seaglass Project's Tuna is the perfect blend of the Alaia shape and new technology resulting in a finless board that after only a few sessions, will have you screaming down the line, sliding, throwing 360's, maybe even getting some air - all in a controlled out of control manner that will have you gagging for more. Yep, we're pumped on it!

If you like a bit of an adrenalin rush or fancy trying something new, check out The Seaglass Project pages on our website where you can watch videos of Tom talking about The Seaglass Project concept, describing the features of the Tuna, download the board specs and heaps more.

Find your local dealer and take one for a test drive, but you better take your wallet because you'll definitely want to take one home!

California Games, 1987: one day, surfing games will be like this

The video game developers say it's hard to model water and liquids, but there have been some major changes and progress should be done in entertainment surfing. Look at the "Uncharted", "Far Cry" or "Heavy Rain" incredible water effects.

So, why haven't we got new surfing video games for new generation of consoles like Xbox 360, PS3 or Wii? kicked off the debate more than one year ago. A petition was launched in order to ignite the video game industry.

In the last few months, two major surf industry brands have unveiled new surfing games for the iPhone and iPad: "Live The Search: The Ultimate Surfing Game" and "Billabong Surf Trip".

These are two great efforts, but we're still behind the last great surfing video game: "Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer".

We cannot compare a mobile phone game with a console game. The wave modeling is very archaic, the look of the surfers is far from perfect, graphics are poor and controls are too limited by the phone's keyboard.

Dennis Amith's article about "The History of Surfing Video Games" is a great example of how evolutionary steps were achieved towards better surfing games.

But, to be truly honest, mobile phone versions of real surfing games aren't innovative. We've got to get the best of the new developing techniques, such as 3D modeling, rendering high detail and sound design.

A new console surfing video game would certainly be a sales hit not only among surfers and wave sports enthusiasts, but also between those who enjoy action and all the beach lifestyle.

"Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer" was published in 2003. Much water has flowed under the bridge since then in computer programming. Let's hope some of that water is channeled to the best surfing game ever imagined, in the near future.

Console surfing video games:

Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer (2003)
Transworld Surf (2002)
Sunny Garcia Surfing (2001)
Surfing H3O (2000)
Championship Surfer (2000)
Surf Riders (2000)

Meanwhile enjoy the online surfing games has to offer.