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A fast-paced day in Hawkes Bay saw the Backdoor BayBash surfed through to completion at Waimarama Beach today with Billy Stairmand (Rag) defending his title in the Open Men’s Division while Saffi Vette (Gis) claimed her first ever win in the Open Women’s Division.

The day broke to clean 0.5m waves and light winds, and with no improvement forecasted throughout the weekend, it was decided that completing the event in one day was the best option.

Stairmand lived up to his favourite tag with precision surfing all day including the final which he dominated from start to finish, enabling him to defend his event title and in doing so, leap frog Zen Wallis (Piha) to reclaim the year end number one ranking.

“It’s good to finish the year on a high, it’s a good Christmas present” proclaimed Stairmand.

“I didn’t have a good year competing internationally but to win the final event of the year here in New Zealand is good and my earlier win in the Rip Curl Pro has helped me defend my overall New Zealand Surf Series title so that is something to take into next year as I gear up for another shot at the Australian leg of the WQS” added Stairmand.

“I knew the final was going to be hard, Levi surfs those conditions really well and Caleb has been in good form plus I have watched Jack Lee improve so much surfing at the Academy this year.  But when I got that first good wave, that gave me a boost and the confidence to wait for the best waves for the rest of the final.”

Stairmand finished with a 14.10 point total in the final, attributing his win to the finding the right waves and having new boards from Sharp Eye which has pumped him up to compete in small waves.

Finishing second in the final was Caleb Cutmore (Ham) who took one last swing at Stairmand with an air reverse on his last wave but came up short of the required score.

Waihi Beach surfer Levi Stewart finished third in the final and third overall behind Zen Wallis and Stairmand on the New Zealand Surf Series.  16-year-old Jack Lee (Whaka) finished the final in fourth place.

17-year-old Gisborne surfer Saffi Vette left her run late in the Open Women’s Division surfing her last wave in the final 10 seconds of the final to overcome Auckland surfer Aimee Brown.

“It was pretty nerve racking but I have had heaps of comp experience this year and I got that last wave and did the job so I am stoked” said Vette of her situation in the final.

“It was a huge confidence boost to get that win, I haven’t done extremely well this year so hopefully I can take this on to next year and start well at the Nationals in January” she added.

Vette finished with 13.10 point heat total to defeat Brown (12.33) in the final, Brown finishing ahead of Laura Griffin (Whangarei) who had led for much of the final but ultimately finished third ahead of Tegen Bishop (Chch) in fourth.

While Vette will be in New Zealand for the National Championships in January, she will quickly switch focus to international events with the goal of qualifying for the World Surf League (WSL) Junior Championships as well as competing on the WSL WQS.

In the junior divisions it was a role reversal for Vette when she led the Under 18 Girls Division final until the final ten seconds when Brown caught a last-gasp wave to jump into the lead and with that, win the overall series for 2018.  Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara) finished the final in third place ahead of Tegen Bishop (Chch) in fourth.

Ohope surfer Jared Gebert claimed the Under 18 Boys Division with a strong performance that netted him a 14.26 point heat total to defeat Luke Griffin (Mnt) in second, Caleb Cutmore (Ham) in third and Tom Robinson (Whangarei) in fourth.

Finn Vette kicked off the finals for their family with a win in the Under 16 Boys Division.  It was a slickly surfed right-hander that included two vertical backhand re-entries that saw Vette march into the lead in the final.  He eventually finished with a 12.83 point heat total to eclipse overall series winner Kora Copper (Rag) who finished in second place ahead of Luis Soutehrwood (Whaka) in third and Taylor O’Leary (Mur) in fourth.

This is the fifth year the Backdoor BayBash has taken place.  The event included six divisions with the Men’s and Women’s premier divisions being supported by the New Zealand Grom Series Under 18 and 16 age groups.

Please see below for results from the Backdoor BayBash completed at Waimarama Beach, Hawkes Bay today (Saturday 8th December).

Open Men’s Division Final
Billy Stairmand (Rag), 14.1, 1, Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 10.93, 2, Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch), 9.53, 3, Jack Lee (Whaka), 4.9, 4

Open Women’s Division Final
Saffi Vette (Gis), 13.1, 1, Aimee Brown (GB), 12.33, 2, Laura Griffin (Mnt), 10.44, 3, Tegen Bishop (Chch), 8.9, 4

Under 18 Girls Division Final
Jared Gebert (Ohope), 14.26, 1, Luke Griffin (Mnt), 12.23, 2, Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 12.03, 3, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 11.86, 4

Under 18 Girls Division Final
Aimee Brown (Auck), 10.46, 1, Saffi Vette (Gis), 10.27, 2, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 8.6, 3, Tegen Bishop (Chch), 3.97, 4

Under 16 Boys Division Final
Finn Vette (Gis), 12.83, 1, Kora Cooper (Rag), 11.57, 2, Luis Southerwood (Whaka), 10.6, 3, Taylor O’Leary (Mur), 8.47, 4

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.

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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Event Hotline
The Surfing New Zealand event hotline is 0211134506. This will be updated daily at with venues, divisions contested and conditions.

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