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The final four surfers in the Open Men’s Division have been confirmed at the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships which will climax at Gisborne tomorrow (Saturday 13th January).

A mix of experience and first timers emerged after the semifinals were contested in clean 1.0m waves at Makorori Beach, Gisborne today (Friday 12th January).

Two World Qualifying Series campaigners in Elliot Paerata – Reid (Piha) and Ricardo Christie (Gis) led newcomers Levi Stewart (Waihi Beach) and Paul Moretti (Northland) into the finals.

It was Paerata – Reid that continued his impressive run of form at the event making it back-to-back finals at this year’s edition of the National Championships.  The sharp 21-year-old surfer posted a 17.0 point heat total to advance into the final ahead of Christie with a dominant display of powerful backhand re-entries.

Paerata – Reid hopes that tomorrow, he will put on a better performance than the final in 2017 where, in home waters, he had an off heat.

“Well I hope I do something different to last year considering I got a tiny heat total in the final.  So, yeah, I really want the title this year, I am focussed and I am just going to try and surf to my strengths out there” Paerata – Reid said.

“I have a good board under my feet, a little epoxy and I saw those inside lefthanders start in the heat before mine so I had a good game plan to surf there and it paid off” he added.

Now it is about refocussing for the final which Paerata –Reid intends to do by having a short surf between now and then and relaxing as much as possible.

It is the same formula for Christie who aims to get some more practice in the small waves on offer after posting an impressive 16.1 point heat total today.

“I am stoked to get through that one, it was a tough semi and it has actually been a tough little run to get to the final to be honest, so I have been taking it a heat at a time” he said.

“Blimming Elliot got two eight point rides at the start of the heat today so it was a battle for second really and Nick White (Mnt) and Johnny Hicks (Gis) are two good surfers so I put myself under a bit of pressure and I am stoked to get through” he added.

Widely regarded as the two underdogs of the final, Stewart and Moretti are determined to put in a good showing tomorrow and prove that they can mix it with the best surfers at the event.

“They are big dogs, but I am not fazed, I am from Waihi Beach and we don’t back down” a confident Levi Stewart said.

“I am feeling really good, it is fun to get good waves and to go through with Paul again like the quarters, we have grown up competing together and I am stoked to go through with him” he added.

Stewart was grounded for a lengthy period with a back injury that prevented him from surfing at all let alone competing.  So this week’s comeback at this event has been extra special for the talented 22-year-old.

For Moretti, it is about keeping as laid back as possible in the build-up for tomorrow’s final but when probed, there was an inkling of excitement in the Northland surfer.

“It’s been a while since I have competed in this event so we will see what tomorrow brings, but yeah I am amped on making the final.  I have enjoyed myself all week and Gisborne has turned it on” said Moretti.

Stewart and Moretti eliminated Zen Wallis (Piha) and Elliott Brown (Dun) in the first semifinal.  Paerata – Reid and Christie eliminated Nick White (Mnt) and Johnny Hicks (Gis) in the second semifinal.

There were ten finals also contested throughout the day.  Daniel Kereopa (Rag) reclaimed the Stand Up Paddleboard Division title while Gisborne’s Stella Smith defended her title in the Stand Up Paddleboard Women’s Division.

Craig Macdonald was another surfer to defend his title in the Kneeboard Division.

Local surfer John Gisby claimed his 37th national title in the Over 60 Men’s Division while Derek Brunker (Whangarei) won the Over 55s, Matt Groube (Pau) the Over 45s and Jarred Hancox (Tara) the Over 35s.

The Senior Women’s Division saw all five surfers enter the water together with Kathy Stead (Mnt) taking home the first ever Over 60s title, Marguerite Vujcich (HBay) the Over 55s, Gina Samson (Gis) the Over 50s, Donna Henderson (Chch) the Over 40s and Lucy Te Moananui the Over 30s.

At the end of the day the Under 14 Divisions were contested with titles going to Jayden Willoughby (Rag) and Ava Henderson (Chch).

The swell is expected to ease overnight with an onshore wind predicted to hit the Gisborne coastline tomorrow afternoon.  The plan is to complete the event by lunchtime Saturday (13th January).

The draw for all divisions can be found on the Surfing New Zealand website.

Please see below for results from day six of the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships 2018 held at Makorori Beach, Gisborne today (Friday 12th January).

Open Men’s Division Semifinals
Heat 1

Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch), 12.1, 1, Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata), 11.6, 2, Zen Wallis (Piha), 9.46, 3, Elliot Brown (Dun), 3.76, 4
Heat 2
Elliot Paerata Reid (Piha), 17, 1, Richard Christie (Mahia), 16.13, 2, Nick White (Mnt), 11, 3, Johnny Hicks (Gis), 8.77, 4


Under 18 Girls Division Semifinals
Heat 1

Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 13.9, 1, Zhana Hutchison (Tara), 11.8, 2, Estella Hungerford (Chch), 10.8, 3, Aimee Brown (Auck), 7.93, 4
Heat 2
Brie Bennett (Rag), 9.6, 1, Georgia Wederell (Mnt), 8.6, 2, Stella Smith (Gis), 7.53, 3, Saffi Vette (Gis), 3.6, 4


Senior Women’s Final/s
Lucy Te Moananui (Kaik), 6, 1 (Over 30s)

Donna Henderson (Chch), 10.2, 1 (Over 40s)

Gina Samson (Gis), 7.07, 1 (Over 50s)

Marguerite Vujcich (Hbay), 6.07, 1 (Over 55s)

Kathy Steed (Mnt), 6.47, 1 (Over 60s)

Over 60 Men’s Division Semifinals
Heat 1

Spring Thompson (Gis), 9.87, 1, Rupert Newbold (Whngrei), 5.93, 2, Graham Breckell (Gis), 5.2, 3
Heat 2
John Gisby (Gis), 16.77, 1, Tony Ogilvy (Whaka), 11.8, 2, Chris Ransley (Gis), 11.37, 3

Over 60 Men’s Division Final
John Gisby (Gis), 11.3, 1, Tony Ogilvy (Whaka), 8.1, 2, Rupert Newbold (Whngrei), 4.1, 3, Spring Thompson (Gis), 2, 4

Over 55 Men’s Division Final
Derek Brunker (Whngrei), 13.4, 1, Phillip Griffin (Mnt), 12.9, 2, Phil Wallis (Piha), 10, 3, Noel Francis (Gis), 8.67, 4

Over 45 Men’s Division Final
Matt Groube (Pau), 14.9, 1, Patrick Braithwaite (Gis), 13.3, 2, Geoff Hutchison (Rag), 11.7, 3, John Roussey (Chch), 8.47, 4

Over 35 Men’s Division Final
Jarred Hancox (Tara), 15.1, 1, Chris Malone (Rag), 11.9, 2, Larry Fisher (Rag), 10.7, 3, Jeremy Grainger (Tara), 8, 4

Under 14 Boys Division Final
Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 13.1, 1, Kora Cooper (Rag), 12.6, 2, Finn Vette (Gis), 11.4, 3, Navryn Malone (Rag), 9.17, 4

Under 14 Girls Division Final
Natasha Gouldsbury (Levin), 11, 2, Ava Henderson (Chch), 13.7, 1, Liv Haysom (Piha), 8.47, 3, Daizee Rawls (Gis), 5.47, 4

Men’s Stand Up Paddleboard Division Final
Daniel Kereopa (Rag), 15.8, 1, Jamie Andrews (Tara), 14.8, 2, Sean Hovell (Gis), 13.2, 3, Geoff Pardoe (Gis), 8.24, 4

Women’s Stand Up Paddleboard Division Final
Stella Smith (Gis), 17.6, 1, Alexis Poulter (Waihi), 10.4, 2, Lucy Te Moananui (Kaik), 9.97, 3, Renee Davenport (Rag), 5.73, 4

Kneeboard Division Semifinals
Heat 1

Tracey Skelton (Tara), 12.5, 1, Craig McDonald (Auck), 9.67, 2, Jed Christophers (Gis), 7.07, 3, Dean Potier (Tara), 2.83, 4
Heat 2
Gary Sawyer (Auck), 12.2, 1, Maukino Skelton (Tara), 9.73, 2, Craig Hooper (Mnt), 5.3, 3, Julia Phillips (Tara), 4.7, 4

Kneeboard Division Final
Craig McDonald (Auck), 12.9, 1, Gary Sawyer (Auck), 12.8, 2, Maukino Skelton (Tara), 11.5, 3, Tracey Skelton (Tara), 9.77, 4

Below is a schedule of events that will take place with surfing being held from 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 Divisions
Day 6 – Addition of SUP Divisions and Kneeboard
Day 7 – All divisions plus SUP Race

The event runs along the Gisborne coastline from 7th – 13th January.

The Health 2000 National Surfing Championships forms the first leg of the 2018 New Zealand Surf Series.

In the 54 year history of the event the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships has grown to encompass 29 divisions spread across all disciplines and age groups from Under 14 through to Over 60 for males and females, longboard, kneeboard and paddleboard.  Over 300 entries have been received for the event.

2018 marks the fourteenth time the event has been held at Gisborne, the most out of any location in the country.  The event was last held at Gisborne in 2014.  The event would not be possible without the support of Health 2000, Eastern Institute of Technology and Gisborne Boardriders.

Further Information
For further information on the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships 2018 please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

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