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 honors 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 the injured team coach and ex-national champion Matt Hewitt.

The team comprises New Zealand representatives JC Susan and team captain Todd Doyle, two surfers who 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 teammate 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 year's result when I placed fourth in the Under 16 Boys Division".

Lawson was joined by teammates 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 Taranaki team's performance 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 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 teammates 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)

Top Stories

The first-ever pro tour wave pool contest was held at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

A wipeout changed Jack Johnson's life. Here's how the young man who once dreamed of becoming a pro surfer went on to sell over 25 million album copies.

I have to admit it. There has always been something glamorous surrounding the dreams of living the life of a pro surfer.

Long are the days when surfing was the sport of riding ocean waves. Today, it's more than that - it's about choosing one of the many ways to ride a wave.