Michael Burling: like ballet

On Saturday the 11th of September, the 60 contestant strong draw of the 2010 North Island Longboard Champs took to the water at Forestry Beach, Mangawhai.

Conditions were extremely challenging, with 1-2ft waves (the odd 3ft set as the day progressed) and an onshore Nor-east wind - a multiple peak contest situation. With many of NZ's top longboarders present at the event however, there was an amazing display of surfing put on.

Despite the poor weather conditions, the vibe of the day was overwhelmingly positive. The contest provided a great opportunity for a catch up, with longboarders having travelled from as far afield as Dunedin, Gisborne and Wanganui - a fantastic turn out from the longboarding community. Many kept their hands warm by the BBQ put on to help NZ Surfing Team representative Thomas Kibblewhite get to the ISA World Surfing Games taking place in Peru later this year.

Ultimately, it was Michael Burling (Wanganui) that took out first place of the Fletcher Construction Open Mens division, with a powerful and fluid display of surfing. After being announced as the winner at the formal prize giving, Burling went on to say that he intended to take a 3 year break from competitive surfing and was "really happy to go out with a bang".

The official results were as follows:

Fletcher Construction Opens Mens:
1st: Michael Burling (Wanganui)
2nd: Owen Barnes (Mt. Maunganui)
3rd: Dylan Barnfield (Ohope)
4th: Kelly Ryan (Gisborne)

SONY Open Womens:
1st: Belinda Goodwin (Raglan)
2nd: Mischa Davis (Piha)
3rd: Shelley Jones (Orewa)
4th: Hannah Howard (Orewa)

Sanuk Over 50's:
1st: Michael Thompson (Raglan)
2nd: Paul Browne (Orewa)
3rd: Rupert Newbold (Whangerei)
4th: Rob Bayes (Orewa)

Skull Candy Under 18's:
1st: Branko Vela (Takapuna)
2nd: Jae Kilgour (St. Clair)
3rd: Blake Zuill (Red Beach)
4th: Sam Haven (Muriwai)

The Morris Surfboard Charity Raffle was won by Paul (Brownie) Browne who took home a brand new 9ft Morris Surfboard. A total of $370 was raised and will be donated to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust.

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