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Day one of the Emerson’s South Island Championships got underway on Easter Friday (30 March) with the junior divisions taking centre stage as the premier divisions eye up a start on day two.

Greeted with a spectacular sunrise, the juniors faced super clean, 0.5m – 1.0m waves making for great conditions at St Clair Beach that saw surfers in the Under 14 Boys Division immediately in action in the pleasantly warm conditions in and out of the water.

Standouts included Dara O’Malley (Chch) who ultimately advanced through to the finals alongside Jack McKenzie (Chch), James Miller (Chch) and Reuben Lyons (Kaik).

The Under 14 Girls Division was dominated by Ava Henderson (Chch) and Liv Haysom (Piha) with local lass Misha Peyroux and Leah Wilson (Chch) also making it through to the final.

The Under 16 Boys Division saw Tom Robinson (Whngrei) contest the event as well as Myka Black (Chch), Neko Tohiariki (Chch) and Dunedin local Ruben Peyroux all advancing through to the finals.

Ava Henderson backed up her good performance in the Under 16 Girls Division where she advanced to her second final with a 14.8 point heat total alongside standout Estella Hungerford (Chch) who posted a 10.83, Anna Brock (Mnt) and Liv Haysom (Piha).

The high tide made for challenging conditions when the senior women took to the water with locals Tash Civil and Haley Coakes dominating with Lucy Al Temoananui (Kaik) and Navaylota Aeoviadou (Qtown) set to join them in the final.

Grandmasters saw the old fellas surf with the cunning and skill that only years produce with the local Dunedin lads dominating – Ayson, McNally, Summerton and Kaan all heading through to the semis.

The final division of the day saw the two New Zealand teammates Zen Wallis (Piha) and Hugh Ritchie (Chch) commanding the field, with Seb Johnson (Chch) and Ben Winmill (Nel) joining them for the final.

After ten hours of surfing, the surfers and event officials retired to the comfortable surrounds of the South Coast Boardriders clubrooms to enjoy a cold Emerson’s. On tap is the soon to be released new beer that was specially brewed for South Coast Boardriders club, the Shark Bell Emerson’s. Rumour even has it that Ed Sheeran was seen amongst the crowds at St Clair today who were all enjoying watching the surfing on a stunningly warm sunny Dunedin day.

The surf is expected to build significantly from this afternoon and overnight setting up a good final day of the event.  The forecast still points toward the event being held at St Clair Beach for the final day and an official call will be made at 7am on Sunday morning.

The three-day event is hosted by South Coast Boardriders and is dual sanctioned by Surfing New Zealand and the South Island Surfing Association.  The event features 16 divisions ranging from Open Men and Women through to Under 14 Boys and Girls, Longboard, Seniors and Stand Up Paddleboard.

The Emerson’s South Island Surfing Championships is the second of six events on the 2017 New Zealand Surf Series which started with the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships held at Gisborne in January.  See below for remaining events:

Event 2: Emerson’s South Island Surfing Championships – 30 March – 1 April, Dunedin (SNZ 3 star)
Event 3: Exit Surf Men’s Canterbury Championships – 21-23 April, Christchurch (SNZ 4 star)
Event 4: Backdoor Oceanbridge Manu Bay Pro – 27-29 April, Raglan (SNZ 4 star)
Event 5: Rip Curl Raglan Pro pres by Galbraiths – 4-6 May, Raglan (SNZ 6 star)
Event 6: Backdoor BayBash – 17-18 November, Hawkes Bay (SNZ 3 star)

The event is also part of the New Zealand Grom Series and the New Zealand Longboard Series.

Information
For more information on the Emerson’s South Island Surfing Championships please contact Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

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