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Let us take you through a chronology of New Zealand surfing history.  Not everything has been noted down so if you feel that you can contribute to this timeline we would love to hear from you. Send us a message benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

1963
The first national championships were held at Mount Maunganui and won by Peter Way.

1968
The famous New Zealand surf movie Children of the Sun was released featuring the best surfers the country had to offer.

1976
New Zealand hosts the Amco/Radio Hauraki Pro at North Piha which became the first event of the very first year of the World Professional Surfing Tour. The event was won by Michael Peterson.

1980
Taranaki held the National Champs. Wayne Arthur was involved in running the event and at the AGM, was elected President. Prior to that NZ Surf Life Saving Chairman (Peter Fitzsimmons) held the post of Caretaker President.

1981
Allan Byrne places second to Simon Anderson at the Pipeline Masters.  Allan would go on to place 24th overall on the 1981 IPS Rankings.

A core of regional reps were selected to aid the president, Wayne Arthur wrote to Peter Fitzsimmons stating that the New Zealand Surfing Association was in good heart and that we thanked him for his role as caretaker – but give us the bloody keys back. Tongue in cheek.

1982
The New Zealand Surfing Circuit was formed with a series of events held throughout the country. The New Zealand team attended the World Championships which were held in Australia.

1984
New Zealand team toured to the World Championships in California. An ambitious tour that involved comps against Hawaii – beaten, Peru – won and Brazil – beaten before going to the main event held at Huntington Beach.

1986
New Zealand team toured England for the World Surfing Games. After the event the team toured Ireland for a test match which they won. Wayne Spence was elected president of the New Zealand Surfing Association.

1987
Iain Buchanan wins his fifth straight Open Men’s National Title equalling Wayne Parkes record. Buchanan goes on to compete on the world tour finishing 34th overall – the highest a Kiwi has ever placed. In doing so Buchanan gets the Eddie Aikau award for the best newcomer

1989
First New Zealand junior surfing team selected to compete at the inaugural World Grommet Titles. The tour led by Carol Cranch becomes the gateway for many of New Zealand’s top surfers. The international event later transformed into the World Junior Championships.

1990
Nationals were held in Dunedin and won by Lynden Kennings. Peter Fitzsimmons was elected as the president of the New Zealand Surfing Association in what many claim was a pivotal direction change for the sport.

The second National Scholastic Championships event held at Raglan. Run by Cranch sisters Carol and Janice. Maz’s first big event, places 7th. Carol reckons Maz has potential and invites Quinn’s to Bali anyway, just development, good move!

Coca Cola get involved with surfing in what turns out to be a six year relationship.

1992
Nationals held at Gisborne where Motu Mataa completes the Open/Juniors double. Bob Davie and Taff Kennings approach Gary Quinn about taking on voluntary role as the Executive Officer of New Zealand Surfing Association. Quinn immediately thrust into organising NZ circuit, Bali Grommet team and World team to France same year. Quinn meets Wayne Brown.

ISA World Championships – Lacanau, France. Wayne Brown and Rod Rust manage the team. Maz at 16 taken again for development thrives in French waves, sign of things to come. Side trip to Thurso Scotland. International test Ireland Scotland and England. Kiwi’s prevail.

1995
New Zealand hosts its first ASP World Qualifying Series event at Raglan – The Billabong Pro. The event is won by Luke Egan. The event is continued for the following two years. New Zealand Surfing Association employees its first paid employee Greg Townsend and is based out of Dunedin. Steve Ria becomes the Maori Coordinator on a voluntary basis.

1996
Maz Quinn wins the Billabong Pro-Junior Series in Australia then goes on to Europe to compete in the World Pro Junior final in France coming second overall to Taj Burrows.

1997
The New Zealand Surfing Association rebrands to become Surfing New Zealand in a move that many sporting organisations follow in later years. The New Zealand Health Sponsorship Council through Smokefree sponsor Surfing New Zealand.

1999
Telecom comes to the party with corporate sponsorship of the association through the Boost mobile brand. Sponsorship involves naming rights to the Nationals, Scholastics and sponsorship of a number of New Zealand’s top surfers.

2000
Dominion Breweries sponsor Surfing New Zealand through the DB Export brand.

2001

Maz Quinn places 7th on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) to qualify for the World Championship Tour (WCT) – the first Kiwi to do so. Quinn becomes a household name in New Zealand. Jay Quinn becomes New Zealand’s first Junior World Champion at the event staged in Australia. The New Zealand team win the teams event on the back of Quinn and a rampaging Bobby Hansen who places second in the Under 16s.

Surfing New Zealand designs a new logo that incorporates the culture of the country.

Lion Breweries come on board with Surfing New Zealand in a lucrative three year deal.

2002
Maz Quinn finishes 36th on the WCT and is unfortunately relegated back to the WQS.

2003
The national office of Surfing New Zealand relocates to Raglan. The move allows the organisation to be located close to Auckland and coincides with the addition of two further full time staff.

New Zealand host the Oxbow World Longboarding Championships at Raglan. The event was won by Beau Young – son of the legendary Nat Young.

Taranaki sets the stage for the ISA World Surfing Masters where New Zealand take home three world titles.

2004
Hyundai get involved with SNZ in a relationship that continues to this point in time with sponsorship of the Nationals and the newly restructured Hyundai Pro Longboard Tour.

2005
New Zealand plays host to the Vodafone Surf Sessions at Piha Beach. The unique event pitches Andy Irons, Mark Occhilupo, Sunny Garcia and Joel Parkinson against Maz Quinn, Daniel Kereopa, Bobby Hansen and Morehu Roberts. An estimated 15,000 people flock to the beach to witness the action.

2006
The second edition of the Vodafone Surf Sessions takes place at Piha in out-of-control 8ft plus waves. Guests Andy Irons, Bruce Irons, Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson tackle the waves head on to the cheers of a 5,000 strong crowd.

Maz Quinn gets his fourth national title to sit one short of the record jointly held by Iain Buchanan and Wayne Parkes.

Airini Mason places fourth at the ISA World Junior Championship in Brazil.

The first Billabong ASP Pro Junior Series event is held in New Zealand frothing out entrants with pumping Raglan.

2007
Matt Hewitt places third at the ISA World Junior Championship with Paige Hareb in fourth. The results help the team to a podium finish for the first time finishing fourth.

Bobby Hansen becomes the highest ranked Kiwi on the ASP WQS in 79th place.

Daniel Kereopa claims his first ever national title and in doing so takes home the Longboard and Over 28s for an incredible hat-trick of wins in Taranaki waters.

2008
Paige Hareb finishes seventh on the ASP WQS and becomes the first female to qualify for the ASP World Tour. Her year was highlighted by an incredible win at the six star Margaret River Masters.

Airini Mason places fourth at the ISA World Junior Championship in France, the New Zealand team also wins the tag team event.

Jay Quinn claims a double title at the National Championships winning the Open and Longboard Divisions.

2009
Paige Hareb surfs her first year on the ASP World Tour finishing in eighth place. Her best result was a third at the tour opener on the Gold Coast. Hareb also finishes the WQS in fourth place.

Steve Poulter is voted in as the President of Surfing New Zealand.

Seventeen year old Matt Hewitt shocks his opponents by winning the 2009 National Championships at Piha.

2010
New Zealand organises and hosts the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships for the first time with Piha Beach turning on the waves and ISA commending SNZ for the impeccable running of the biggest international event held in New Zealand.

Paige Hareb finishes her second year on the ASP World Tour ranked ninth and re-qualifies for 2011.

The New Zealand Surfing Team place seventh at the World Surfing Games in Peru – the best result in over a decade thanks to a runner up placing by Paige Hareb – also a New Zealand best.

Surfing New Zealand employs a Sport Development Officer to promote surfing throughout the country.

Billy Stairmand becomes the first Kiwi male to win an ASP six star event while competing in Portugal.

Surfing New Zealand sign a two year deal with DB Breweries who take naming rights to the Export Gold Series.

The first ASP Women’s World Tour event is held at New Plymouth and staged by Surfing Taranaki.

2011
New Zealand’s first ASP Longboard Qualifying Series event is held at Sandy Bay and won by Josh Constable (AUS).

Surfing New Zealand wins the 2011 SPARC Event Excellence Award for the staging of the 2010 ISA World Junior Championships.

Billy Stairmand defeats 10x and defending ASP World Champion Kelly Slater in a heat in massive 8-10ft waves at Margaret River.

The first six star ASP World Tour event is held at Gisborne in March – the O’Neill Cold Water Classic.

Iain Buchanan becomes the first ever Kiwi ASP World Champion after winning the Over 50’s Division at the ASP World Masters in Brazil.

2012
Paige Hareb finishes the 2012 ASP Women’s World Tour ranked 10th automatically requalifying for the 2013 Tour

2013
Ella Williams claims the 2013 ASP World Junior Championship in Brazil after securing a last minute call up to the event.  Williams stuns the surfing world with her win.  She also surfs to a Copper medal at the 2013 ISA World Surfing Games held in Panama.

Paige Hareb requalifies for the ASP World Tour via the World Qualifying Series leaving it until the last couple of events.  Hareb will contest the tour for a sixth consecutive year.

2014
Ricardo Christie qualifies for the World Surf League Championship Tour after claiming the tenth and final qualifying spot on the World Qualifying Series with a year-end ranking of 16th.  It will be 15 years since Maz Quinn became the first and only male surfer to qualify for the tour up until now.

Ricardo replaces Paige Hareb on the tour.  After six years at the peak of the sport Paige missed out on requalification.

2015
Ricardo Christie competes on the World Tour finishing in 31st.  The inaugural Ultimate Waterman event was held in Auckland and won by New Zealand surfer Daniel Kereopa.

2016
Ella Williams wins her maiden WSL WQS event in France – the Medoc Ocean QS1,000.

Elin Tawharu makes the podium at the ISA World Junior Championships in the Azores finishing third in the Under 16 Girls Division.

The NZ SUP and Paddleboard Team secure Bronze at the 2016 ISA World Championship in Fiji thanks to gold medal performances from Penelope Armstrong in the Women’s SUP Technical Race and Sam Shergold in the Men’s Paddleboard Distance Race.

The second edition of The Ultimate Waterman was held in Auckland and won by Zane Kekoa Schweitzer.

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