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The Hawkes Bay Region is set to send off the New Zealand Surf Series in style this weekend with surfers from around the country expected to enjoy some good waves at the Backdoor BayBash event.

The event will take place on Saturday and Sunday (16 – 17 December) with a building 2.0m swell that peaks on Sunday afternoon.

Current number one ranked New Zealand surfer and six-time national champion Billy Stairmand (Rag) will go into the event looking to maintain the top ranking through to the year-end.

Stairmand can claim the top spot by placing third or better at the event.  It would be the first New Zealand Surf Series that Stairmand has secured despite the natural-footer having claimed a record sixth national title at Piha at the start of the year.

The only surfer able to catch Stairmand is fellow Raglan surfer Taylor Hutchison.  Hutchison would need to win the event and have Stairmand place fourth or lower to win the overall series.

With the good swell forecast, Hawkes Bay’s top surfers have opted into the event and they will be led by Jeremy Evans and Bronson Primer, both of Napier.

In the Open Women’s Division, number one ranked Ella Williams (WGM) will be absent this weekend but she has done enough throughout the year to retain her overall series lead regardless of results at the Backdoor BayBash this weekend.  Whangarei’s Billie Scott and Mount Maunganui surfer Tiana-Breeze de Mooij are two surfers that will be looking to rise up the rankings and improve their seeding for the 2018 competitive season.

Three of the age group divisions being contested have all seen the top-ranked surfers secure enough points going into the final event to take out the New Zealand Grom Series.

Taylor Hutchison, while challenging for the Open Men’s Title this weekend, has already secured the Under 20 Boys Division.  Hutchison is joined by Kora Cooper (Rag) in the Under 14 Boys Division, Cooper having an unassailable lead over Myka Black (Chch) and Tom Butland (Tara).

Billie Scott and Elin Tawharu (Mnt) have claimed their respective Under 20 and Under 17 Girls Division titles as well.

That leaves the Under 17 Boys Division up for grabs with Hamilton surfer Caleb Cutmore firmly holding down first place ahead of Conor McLennan (Chch) in second.

McLennan needs to win the event and have Cutmore finish no higher than fourth to clinch the title.  Both surfers have won one series event each this year with Cutmore the slightly more consistent surfer making four finals to McLennan’s three.

This is the fourth year the Backdoor BayBash has taken place.  The event includes seven divisions with the Men’s and Women’s premier divisions being supported by the New Zealand Grom Series with Under 20, 17 and 14 age groups.

Action will take place from 8:00am – 5:00pm on Saturday and Sunday with a call on the event venue made first thing each morning.  There is a significant east swell building late Saturday and into Sunday.  This forecasted swell will give us a good chance of running the event at Te Awanga.

Please see below, current New Zealand Surf Series and New Zealand Grom Series standings.

Open Men’s Division
1, Billy Stairmand (Rag)
2, Taylor Hutchison (Rag)
3, Harrison Whiteside (ChCh)
4, Tane Wallis (Piha)
5, Zen Wallis (Piha)
6, Elliot Paerata Reid (Piha)
7, Conor McLennan (Chch)
8, Matt-Lewis Hewitt (Mnt)
9, Bobby Hansen (Gis)
10, Henry Hawke (Chch)

Open Women’s Division
1, Ella Williams (Whmata)
2, Gabriella Sansom (Auck)
3, Saffi Vette (Gis)
4, Gabrielle Paul (Piha)
5, Claudia Fraser (Piha)
6, Billie Scott (Whangarei)
7, Tiana-Breeze de Mooij (Mnt)
8, Jessica Santorik (Rag)
9, Georgia Wederell (Chch)
10, Aimee Brown (GB)

Under 20 Men’s Division
1, Taylor Hutchison (Rag)
2, Harrison Whiteside (ChCh)
3, Callum Chuter (Tau)
4, Harry Macintosh (Rag)
5, Jack Wilson (Chch)

Under 17 Boys Division
1, Caleb Cutmore (Ham)
2, Conor McLennan (Chch)
3, Elliott Brown (Dun)
4, Dylan Preston (Mnt)
5, Jared Gebert (Ohope)

Under 14 Boys Division
1, Kora Cooper (Rag)
2, Myka Black (Chch)
3, Tom Butland (Tara)
4, Tom Robinson (Whngrei)
5, Josef Jungwirth (Rag)

Under 20 Girls Division
1, Billie Scott (Whangarei)
2, Claudia Fraser (Auck)
3, Isabella Woolleston (Chch)
4, Janee Armstrong (Chch)
5, Tegen Bishop (Chch)

Under 17 Girls Division
1, Elin Tawharu (Mnt)
2, Tiana – Breeze de Mooj (Mnt)
3, Saffi Vette (Gis)
4, Gabrielle Paul (Auck)
5, Tegen Bishop (Chch)

Information
For more information on the Backdoor BayBash please contact Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.  Alternatively, contact Backdoor via Geoff Hutchison – hutch@backdoor.co.nz.

Imagery
High-resolution images will be available to media upon request. Images will be distributed free of charge.

Partners
Generous support from Backdoor Surf Shop, Billabong, Rip Curl, Channel Island Surfboards and Hastings District Council has made this event possible.

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