Michael Burling: like ballet

On Saturday the 11th of September, the 60 contestants' 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 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 traveled from as far afield as Dunedin, Gisborne, and Wanganui - a fantastic turnout 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 in the Fletcher Construction Open Men's 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 Men's:
1st: Michael Burling (Wanganui)
2nd: Owen Barnes (Mt. Maunganui)
3rd: Dylan Barnfield (Ohope)
4th: Kelly Ryan (Gisborne)

SONY Open Women's:
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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