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Gisborne surfer Ricardo Christie has returned to one of his favourite stomping grounds of Taranaki to defend his title at the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships which kicked off today (Sunday 6th January).

Christie is one of over 330 entries in the week-long event and is enthusiastic about the swell forecast for the next seven days.  Today, Stent Road offered up highly contestable 1.0m plus waves and light onshore winds for the Open Men’s and Under 18 Boys Divisions.

Christie’s travels across the country, and entry into the event, were anything but smooth as he struggled to gain clearance from the World Surf League (WSL) to compete in the event.  It was only this morning that he got confirmation from the WSL and by early afternoon he was storming his way to the highest heat score of the day.

“With the WSL, any event outside their calendar, you have to ask for permission and you are not usually allowed to surf other events.  But, because the Nationals were in Taranaki and my grom was keen to compete in the juniors, I was keen to come over and defend my title.  So I threw a few emails out and found out this morning that I was allowed to surf this week” said Christie after his heat.

“I won my first national title here when I was twelve and we had solid 4-5ft waves at Stent and I thought it was huge, the waves were amazing and I fell in love with the place.  Since then I try and surf the place whenever I can” he added.

Christie posted a 16.26 point heat total for an easy victory as he moved through to the Round of 32 alongside number two seed Zen Wallis (Piha).

“It is always fun to surf a right-hand point break in a comp, it is what I grew up surfing at home and I am stoked to be here with the family amongst the sunshine and good vibes” added Christie as he took off from the event site for the afternoon.

Local surfer Bachelor Tipene carried on from his recent Maori Titles form in October, surfing to a 14.33 point heat total and a win in his first round match up.  Tipene won the Maori Titles with an impressive performance and has an intimate knowledge of the break that is beyond most competitors in the division.  This could see him shape up as the dark horse of the event as it advances into the finals later this week.

Tipene was joined by a swag of local Taranaki surfers that won their heats including Dwaine Mataa, Tom Butland, Jarred Hancox, Luke Kerr and Tom Butland.

Six-time national champion Billy Stairmand (Rag) kicked off the day with shots across the bow of all his opponents as he went on a tear to post a 16.0 point heat total.  Looking to make up for his missed opportunity at last year’s event held at Gisborne, Stairmand surfed with blistering pace to advance to the second round which will be held later in the week.

Other surfers to impress with heat wins included 2018 runner up Elliot Paerata – Reid (Piha), Tom Robinson (Whangarei) and Caleb Cutmore (Ham).

Late in the day the first round of the Under 18 Boys Division was contested with Jacob Saunders (Mnt), Jack Lee (Whaka), Caleb Cutmore (Ham) and Jackson Peak (Auck) taking early wins in the round.

The Open Women’s Division as well as the junior female divisions will be added to the schedule on day two.  A large 3.0m swell is forecast for tomorrow which may force a venue change to find favourable conditions, particularly for the younger competitors.

See below for results from day one of the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships held at Stent Road, Taranaki today (Sunday 6th January).

Heat 1
Billy Stairmand (Rag), 16, 1, Paul Moretti (Nrthlnd), 8.83, 2, Sonny Rapira – Martin (Tara), 3.56, 3
Heat 2
Ben Kennings (Whmata), 11.67, 1, Harry Macintosh (Waiheke), 8.66, 2, Luke Jenssen (HBay), 8, 3, Kelly Peake (Mnt), 7.9, 4
Heat 3
Chris Malone (Gis), 11.5, 1, Josh Taylor (Mnt), 10.26, 2, Jordan Barnes (Tara), 8.04, 3, Jeremy Grainger (Tara), 6, 4
Heat 4
Elliot Paerata Reid (Piha), 13, 1, Dwaine Mataa (Tara), 11.5, 2, Luke Hughes (Rag),  , 0, Aloes Laudes (Auck),  , 0
Heat 5
Jarred Hancox (Tara), 9.94, 1, Shane Kraus (Piha), 9.07, 2, Luis Southerwood (Whaka), 8.2, 3, Alex O’Dwyer (Whaka), 7.76, 4
Heat 6
Conor McLennan (Chch), 10.74, 1, Sean Kettle (Tara), 10.5, 2, Ian Roux (Tara), 5.77, 3, Jack Rosewarne (Ham), 5.46, 4
Heat 7
Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 12.4, 1, Dune Kennings (Whmata), 11.43, 2, Corban Grainger (Tara), 4.27, 3, Chris Wilkes (Tara), 3.5, 4
Heat 8
Luke Kerr (Tara), 11.5, 1, Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch), 7.87, 2, Waretini Wano (Piha), 7.73, 3, Sam Sands (Chch), 7.34, 4
Heat 9
Manu Schafer (Tara), 11.04, 1, Taylor Hutchison (Rag), 8.7, 2, Alex Dive (Mnt), 8.17, 3
Heat 10
Callum Chuter (Mnt), 11.67, 1, Ruben Peyroux (Dun), 10.01, 2, William Van Der Beek (Mnt), 6.53, 3, Rupert Newbold (Whngrei), 4.67, 4
Heat 11
Bachelor Tipene (Tara), 14.33, 1, Zac Curle (Waihi Beach), 9.33, 2, Danny Kaweroa (Tara), 7.5, 3, Taylor O’Leary (Mur), 7.03, 4
Heat 12
Tom Butland (Tara), 12.4, 1, Luke Griffin (Mnt), 11, 2, Elliott Brown (Dun), 10.9, 3, Motu Mataa (Mnt), 6.94, 4
Heat 13
Jack Lee (Whaka), 10.07, 1, Nick Dunne (Tara), 7.7, 2, Tom Dixon – Smith (Gis), 7.26, 3, Jacob Buckle (Whngrei), 6.97, 4
Heat 14
Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 11.13, 1, Mark Becker (Tara), 8.5, 2, Riccardo Lucibella (Tara), 7.73, 3, Thomas Harcourt (Chch), 6.5, 4
Heat 15
Jay Piper – Healion (Whiti), 10.04, 1, Kora Cooper (Rag), 8.47, 2, .Jeremy Curd (Tara), 6.66, 3, Deane Hishon (Rag), 4.37, 4
Heat 16
Ricardo Christie (Mahia), 16.26, 1, Zen Wallis (Piha), 10.17, 2, Neko Tohiariki (Chch), 9.67, 3

Under 18 Boys Round 1
Heat 1

Jacob Saunders (Mnt), 13.6, 1, Kora Cooper (Rag), 13.1, 2, Te Haukopa Ehau Taumaunu, 3.66, 3
Heat 2
Alex O’Dwyer (Whaka), 9.43, 1, Jacob Buckle (Whangrei), 9.2, 2, Neko Tohiariki (Chch), 8.73, 3, Lucca Lind (Tara), 6.07, 4
Heat 3
Jack Lee (Whaka), 13.67, 1, Taylor O’Leary (Mur), 9.1, 2, James Millar (Dun), 8.87, 3, Clarky Amor (Tara), 2.27, 4
Heat 4
Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 11.9, 1, Tom Butland (Tara), 10.7, 2, Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 9.53, 3, Ian Roux (Tara), 6.7, 4
Heat 5
Jackson Peak (Auck), 10.9, 1, Luke Griffin (Mnt), 9.84, 2, Luis Southwood (Whaka), 9.47, 3, Luke Rogers, 6.34, 4
Heat 6
Thomas Carter (Waihi Bch), 9.83, 1, Corban Grainger (Tara), 7.16, 2, Cassidy Mann (Auck), 6.84, 3, Jack Rosewarne (Ham), 5.86, 4
Heat 7
Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 16.6, 1, Finn Vette (Gis), 14.43, 2, William Van der Beek (Mnt), 13.67, 3, Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Whngrei), 12.96, 4
Heat 8
Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 9.7, 1, Ruben Peyroux (Dun), 9.5, 2, Jack Hinton (Mnt), 8.76, 3, Jai Wallis (Piha), 4.2, 4

The longest running surfing event in New Zealand takes place over seven days from January 6-12 along the Taranaki Coastline.  The event was last contested in the Taranaki region in 2007 and has been held in the region on nine other occasions.

In the 55 year history of the event the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships has grown to encompass 29 divisions spread across all disciplines and age groups making for a largely inclusive event, filled with high level surfing as well as good times in and out of the water.  Over 330 entries have been received for the event.

The Health 2000 National Surfing Championships forms the first leg of the 2019 New Zealand Surf Series which in turn provides a vital pathway toward the ISA World Surfing Games, a key Olympic qualification event in 2019.

Below is the schedule of events taking place with surfing being held from approx. 8am – 4pm daily.

Day 1 – Open Men, Junior Boys divisions
Day 2 – Addition of Women’s divisions
Day 3 – Addition of Men’s senior age group divisions
Day 4 – Addition of Longboard divisions
Day 5 – Addition of SUP and Bodyboard Divisions
Day 6 – Addition of Kneeboard
Day 7 – All divisions

Further Information
For further information on the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships 2019 please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

Event Hotline
The Surfing New Zealand event hotline is 0211134506.  This will be updated daily at approximately 7am with venue, divisions contested and conditions.

Social Media
Keep up with all the action by following @surfingnz on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.  Use the hash tag #H2KNats2019 to follow the story.

Surfing New Zealand is proudly partnered by:

Sport NZ
SunSmart

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