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The biggest year in the history of surfing is about to commence and for New Zealand, that starts with the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships kicking off on January 6 at Dunedin.

2020 marks surfing’s debut as an Olympic sport and come July, New Zealand will have at least two athletes competing at the inaugural surfing event in Tokyo.

Seven-time and defending National Champion Billy Stairmand (Rag) along with two-time National Champion Ella Williams (WGM) have both provisionally qualified for Tokyo.  Stairmand has confirmed he will start his competitive season with the National Championships in just over a week’s time.

The Health 2000 National Surfing Championships marks the first of several domestic events where Kiwi surfers will get the opportunity to push for selection into the New Zealand Team that will attend the World Surfing Games in May.  Under International Surfing Association (ISA) guidelines, Stairmand and Williams along with Paige Hareb (Tara) and Ricardo Christie (Gis) are automatic selections for the New Zealand Team leaving only one spot each for the men and women.

New Zealand will push for a further two athletes at the World Surfing Games with the top five unqualified males and seven unqualified females at the event, filling up the remaining athlete quota of 20 per division.

2020 marks the twelfth time the National Championships has been held in the South Island and eighth time the event has been held at Dunedin.  The Otago coastline offers up the type of wave-rich stretch of New Zealand that is required to host the six day event.

Raglan’s Point Boardriders will go into the event as the top club after a stellar run of results in 2019 and they will be favoured to take the title again in 2020.  Hosts South Coast Boardriders of Dunedin will be a big force with a large number of members participating as will traditional strongholds such as Gisborne and New Plymouth Boardriders.   Also up for grabs next week will be the Peter Byers Overall Performance of the Event Award.

The longest running surfing event in New Zealand will take place over six days from January 6-11.  In the 56 year history of the event the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships has grown to encompass 29 divisions spread across all disciplines and age groups making for a largely inclusive event, filled with high level surfing as well as good times in and out of the water.

It is expected in excess of 250 entries will be received for the event.  Additional divisions comprise of age groups from Under 14 boys and girls through to Over 60s for males and females and also Longboard, Stand Up Paddleboard, Bodyboard and Kneeboard disciplines.

Action will take place from approx. 8am – 4pm daily with the primary venue being St Clair Beach.  If conditions permit, there will be options for the event to go mobile.

Set out below are winners of the major divisions contested for the past five years.

Open Men
2015 – Billy Stairmand (Rag)
2016 – Billy Stairmand (Rag)
2017 – Billy Stairmand (Rag)
2018 – Ricardo Christie (Gis)
2019 – Billy Stairmand (Rag)

Open Women
2015 – Gabriella Sansom (Auck)
2016 – Ella Williams (WGM)
2017 – Ella Williams (WGM)
2018 – Raiha Ensor (Mnt)
2019 – Aimee Brown (G Barrier)

Under 18 Boys Division
2015 – Kehu Butler (Mnt)
2016 – Elliot Brown (Dun)
2017 – Jonas Tawharu (Mnt)
2018 – Conor McLennan (Chch)
2019 – Caleb Cutmore (Rag)

Under 18 Girls Division
2015 – Kea Smith (Mnt)
2016 – Elin Tawharu (Mnt)
2017 – Saffi Vette (Gis)
2018 – Elin Tawharu (Mnt)
2019 – Saffi Vette (Gis)

Longboard
2015 – Thomas Kibblewhite (Auck)
2016 – Zen Wallis (Piha)
2017 – Thomas Kibblewhite (Auck)
2018 – Zen Wallis (Piha)
2019 – Jamie Andrews (Tara)

Further Information
For further information on the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships 2020 please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

Imagery
High resolution action images of the surfing will be available to media free of charge upon request.

Event Hotline
The Surfing New Zealand event hotline is 0211134506.  This will be updated daily at approximately 7am with venue, divisions contested and conditions.

Social Media
Keep up with all the action by following @surfingnz on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Use the hashtag #H2KNats2020 to follow the story.

Surfing New Zealand is proudly partnered by:

Sport NZ
SunSmart
Water Safety NZ

Ends

 

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