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The New Zealand Surfing Team has set up a big Black Friday of competition at the ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans tomorrow (Friday 13th September).

A good day of competition in small conditions under the 1.0m mark has seen Raglan’s Billy Stairmand advance to the third round of the Men’s Division at the event being held in Miyazaki, Japan.

Another progression for Stairmand tomorrow puts him inside the top 30 surfers at the event and a chance of claiming the Oceania slot for Tokyo 2020.

On a day that saw several event favourites drop to the repechage rounds and some out of the event entirely, Stairmand surfed to a second-place progression behind Fredrico Morais in one of the heats of the day.  In doing so, Stairmand relegated World Tour surfer Conner Coffin (USA) and Peru’s Cristobal de Col to the repechage rounds.

“Yeah that heat was a tough one” said Stairmand. “I knew it was gonna be hard when I saw who was in my heat. But I was up for the challenge”.

“These little waves are suiting me pretty well so I’m comfortable and my board feels amazing. It was pretty scary at the end of the heat as everyone got really good scores. But happy to make it” he added.

Despite saying that he was “pretty nervous”, Stairmand looked comfortable in posting a 14.0 point heat total, 0.07 behind Morais.

“I’ve been working on the mental stuff all year with a friend of mine at home so I just stuck to what I do and my game plan and it paid off. I’m feeling good and confident and just want to keep making heats. So every heat I get I’m giving it my all, no matter what.”

After Kehu Butler (Mnt) and Ricardo Christie (Gis), dropped back to the repechage rounds, they now have to surf a further three rounds to advance inside the top 30 and challenge Stairmand for the Oceania slot.  No other Oceania surfers remain in the event.

Butler found himself up against 11x World Champion Kelly Slater in the second round today where he dipped to third place, Slater blitzing his opponents in the small surf.  Butler bounced back in the repechage round where he changed up his strategy slightly.

“In the second heat I just wanted to get busy and show some more intent because the waves were small and weak.  So yeah, was stoked to get the heat win in that second heat today as conditions were tough” said Butler.

The temperature and humidity have been taking its toll on a number of surfers at the event and Butler said it was having an impact on the Kiwi team also as they found every way possible to mitigate the impact.

“It has been super-hot and muggy, we’ve just been drinking heaps of water and spending a lot of time back at the hotel to relax and conserve energy for our heats” said Butler.  And it will be a major challenge tomorrow if the Kiwi’s advance deep into the event with up to four heats being contested by Butler and Christie.

Like Butler, Christie came up short in his first heat of the day but bounced back in the repechage round with a heat win late in the afternoon posting a 12.13 point heat total to advance.

While the small conditions may have impacted on a number of the top seeds, the surf is expected to build from tomorrow afternoon and into the weekend.  The competition at the event has simply been a step above any other World Surfing Games with Stairmand summing it up well.

“Yeah, it’s crazy seeing all the CT surfers around. But it’s cool. I was saying to the team before, this is probably the hardest comp ever as you have the top CT surfers from each country, then the top QS surfers from each country then if they are not competing in any of those you have the best surfers from each country. So there are some crazy heats. But I’m ready for whatever tomorrow brings.”

The New Zealand Team sits in seventh overall.  Brazil leads the team rankings over the 55 nations competing.  The final day of the event is scheduled for Sunday where the Men’s medallists will be confirmed along with the champion team.

The event is being webcast live.  Japan is three hours behind New Zealand.  Action takes place from as early as 7:30am each day (10:30am NZT).

The International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games presented by Vans is being held at Miyazaki from 7-15 September.  A total of 55 nations and 240 surfers are competing at the event this week.

Please see results for the Kiwi men after two days of action at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans.

Team Rankings
1, Brazil
2, Peru
3, USA
4, South Africa
5, Spain
6, Japan
7, New Zealand
8, Canada
9, Germany
10, Italy

Men’s Division Round 1
Heat 10
Billy Stairmand (NZL), 14.13, 1, Ramon Taliani (ITA), 12.67, 2, Jared Gogue (GUM), 6.53, 3, Cristian Calderon (GUA), 6.47, 4
Heat 18
Angelo Bonomelli (ITA), 13.67, 1, Kehu Butler (NZL), 11.23, 2, Oliver Hartkopp (DEN), 6.77, 3, Amos Rivera (GUA), 3, 4
Heat 26
Ricardo Christie (NZL), 11.57, 1, Efren Aguilar (GUA), 8.83, 2, Roberto D’Amico (ITA), 8.47, 3, Shane Pier (GUM), 4.93, 4

Men’s Division Round 2
Heat 6
Fredrico Morias (POR), 14.07, 1, Billy Stairmand (NZL), 14.07, 2, Cristobal de Col (PER), 13.1, 3, Conner Coffin (USA), 12.13, 4
Heat 9
Kelly Slater (USA), 13.5, 1, Jair Perez (CRC), 10.74, 2, Kehu Butler (NZL), 10.0, 3, Kaspar Hamminga (NED), 4.6
Heat 14
Shane Campbell (CAN), 15.8, 1, Jonathan Zambrano (ECU), 12.23, 2, Beyrick de Vries (ZAF), 11.87, 3, Ricardo Christie (NZL), 9.33, 4

Men’s Division Repechage Round 2
Heat 9
Kehu Butler (NZL), 14.0, 1, Juan Miguel Caraballo (VEN), 8.07, Hira Teriinatoofa (FRA), 7.16, Sidy Camara (SEN), 6.74, 4
Heat 13
Ricardo Christie (NZL), 12.13, 1, Che Allen (BAR), 10.34, 2, Kalani Garcia (PAN), 7.33, 3, Huang Yunweng (CHN), 5.76, 4

Day 7 Schedule (Friday 13th September) – live webcast
11:10am – Billy Stairmand – Men’s Division Round 3
11:50am – Kehu Butler – Men’s Repechage Round 3
12:30pm – Ricardo Christie – Men’s Repechage Round 3

Further heats subject to progressions.  The Kiwis will surf up to four times tomorrow.

World Surfing Games Schedule
September 11 – 14 – Open Men’s continues
September 15 Open Men’s Final and Closing Ceremony

Olympic Qualification
The Olympic qualification process starts with the World Surf League (WSL) where ten males and 8 females on the 2019 World Tour will directly qualify for Tokyo 2020.  No more than two athletes per nation can qualify via this process.

The top ranked male and female from the Oceania Region at this year’s event will qualify for Tokyo 2020.  The selections will then need to be ratified by the New Zealand Olympic Committee before being confirmed.

Athletes have a further chance to qualify for the Olympics at the 2020 ISA World Surfing Games where the final four males and six females in each division will be determined by the top placing athletes at that event.

View the full Olympic qualification system.

About International Surfing Association (ISA)
The International Surfing Association (ISA) is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the World Governing Authority for surfing, bodyboarding, SUP and surfriding.  It was originally founded as the International Surfing Federation in 1964 and has been running world championships since 1964, and the Junior World Championships since 1980.

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

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

Follow Surfing New Zealand
Follow Surfing New Zealand via all social media platforms – @surfingnz.

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