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Oscar Harper
Oscar Harper.  Image courtesy of Jamie Scott


On Friday 17th June over 50 high school aged surfers from across Northland converged on the famed points of Ahipara to compete in the 3rd and final event of the 2016 Northland Scholastics Surfing Series. Clean 1.0-1.5m waves fanned by offshore winds provided the perfect canvas for the event 

Early in the day the Under 14 Girls surfed in Shipwreck Bay across the high tide. All of the girls enjoyed nice shoulder height waves and it was very closely contested between Ely Backhouse (Bream Bay College)  and Kayla Carter (Bream Bay College)  with Backhouse taking the win.

Also the first round of U14 Boys was held Shipwreck Bay while event organisers waited for the tide to drop so they could get around Tauroa Point. Once the tide allowed the event was relocated to Mukerau Beach which offered clean peeling head height waves that got faster and more critical as the tide dropped. Event organisers ran all of the remaining heats then took a break across the low tide to let the water fill in before running the finals in pumping overhead conditions.

First up U16 girls followed by U18 girls and our two current champs Grace Pevats (WGHS) and Billie Scott (WGHS)  who have yet to be beaten showed their fellow competitors just why.  Both picked off the bigger waves and built good totals which proved too much to pull back.  Pevats attacking a bomb wave and finishing off with a big reo floater to stamp her authority in the U16s and Scott showing down the line speed and style to stay in front in the U18s.

In the U14 Boys Final there was .35 points separating first and second place. Whangarei surfer Billy Gilbert (WBHS) placed third in the final.  Oscar Harper (WBHS) and local shredder Taj Broughton (Kaitaia College) battled hard in the final. Both surfers have contrasting styles with Harper all power and flow on his forehand and Broughton attacking and owning every wave on his backhand. In the end it was Harper who took out the division. 

The U16 Boys Divisions was dominated by  Tom Norton (Bream Bay College) , Max Brunker (WBHS) and Joseph Critchfield (Rodney College) with all surfers winning their early heats convincingly.  In the Final Norton stayed on the inside/wider and caught a handful of runners while the other surfers got into a paddle battle and took each other too deep to catch the good waves without realising what Norton was doing. Critchfield woke up with about 6 minutes to go to collect a couple of good waves and pull clear of the other two but couldn’t pull Norton back. Norton surfed well to deserve the win and  turned tables on Nubby Critchfield who had beaten him in the earlier rounds.

The U18 boys Final saw two locals Kalani Hansen (Kaitaia College)  and Callum Mekkelholt (Kaitaia College)  turn up the heat on the others. In the end it was the aggressive backhand surfing of Hansen that came out on top of Mekkelholt smooth style.  Hansen left no doubt that this was this home break.

See below Official Results – NSSS3 – 17th June 2016 @  Ahipara:
Under 14 Girls  – 1st  Ely Backhouse (Bream Bay College)     2nd Kayla Carter (Bream Bay College      3rd Leia Weeds (Kerikeri High School)    4th  Mia Skinner
Under 14 Boys  – 1st Oscar Harper (WBHS) 2nd Taj Broughton (Kaitaia College) 3rd  Billy Gilbert (WBHS)   4th Cruz Losike 
Under 16 Girls  – 1st  Grace Pevats (WGHS)  2nd Nyena Weeds (Kerikeri High School)    3rd  Larissa Mar
Under 16 Boys  – 1st Tom Norton (Bream Bay College)   2nd  Joseph Critchfield (Rodney College)    3rd Max Brunker (WBHS)  4th  Jacob Hayes (WBHS)
Under 18 Girls  – 1st   Billie Scott (WGHS)      2nd Portia Olney-Kemp  (WGHS)      
Under 18 Boys – 1st  Kalani Hansen (Kaitaia College)     2nd Callum Mekkelholt (Kaitaia College)      3rd Quinn Bedford (Rodney College)     4th Liam Taylor Rodney College)

At the conclusion the 2016 Series Champions for each division were announced. See below:

Overall Series Champions – 2016 Northland Scholastics Surfing Series:
Under 14 Girls  – Leia Weeds (Kerikeri High School) 
Under 14 Boys – Oscar Harper (WBHS)
Under 16 Girls – Grace Pevats ( WGHS) 
Under 16 Boys – Joseph Critchfield (Rodney College)
Under 18 Girls – Billie Scott (WGHS) 
Under 18 Boys  – Kalani Hansen ( Kaitaia College) 

A massive thanks to the Local Ahipara surfing community for their support of this event, and all of the schools for their continued involvement in the Northland Scholastics Surfing Series.

Selectors are looking to name a wider squad of surfers that will be reduced to 12 surfers that will compete in the 2016 Surfing New Zealand National Scholastics Surfing Championships being held in Gisborne in October. 

For more information about the NSA or this event, or how you can get involved as a Sponsor of the team, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

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