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Queens Birthday Weekend 2017 saw over 40 surfers from Great Barrier Island and Mangawhai Heads compete in the Annual Mangawhai Board Riders (MBR) vs Aotea Boardriders Club (ABC) contest.

The Contest, which is into its 8th year, sees surfers from both clubs competing at alternate venues. In 2016 MBR surfers travelled to Great Barrier Island and competed Whangapoua, and this year was MBR’s turn to host ABC.  Every year the clubs alternate locations.

Swell conditions were challenging on Day One (Saturday 3rd) with a strong South to South East wind blowing and 2.0-3.0m swell breaking at Mangawhai Heads. Due to conditions organisers ran Round One and a Repercharge Round, and decided to save the remaining contest rounds till Sunday when conditions were forecasted to be much better.  Stand-out performers on Day One included Sid West (ABC), Tom Norton (MBR), Jack Warden (ABC) and Neil McInnes (MBR).

On Sunday 4th June competitors were greeted by clean 1.0-1.5m waves with light offshore winds at Mangawhai Heads and competition got underway at 9.30am. Round Two saw some great battles between MBR and ABC and highlights included stellar performances from Chad Anderson (ABC) , Bow Davenport (ABC) and Nubby Critchfield (MBR).  With the 36 man draw whittled down to the final 6 the Semi-Finals were run in near perfect 2-3ft waves. There was a fierce battle between Lang’s Beach surfer Tom Norton(MBR)  and local Mangawhai shredder Louis Smith (MBR) in heat one, with Smith pipping Norton for 2nd ahead of Chad Anderson (ABC) taking 1st. In Semi-Final Two local Mangawhai grommets, Bassie Waldron (MBR) and Nubby Crutchfield (MBR) did much the same, with Critchfield progressing to the finals along with Sid West (ABC).

Nearly 100 people had gathered at the beach to watch the finals, and they weren’t disappointed.   Louis Smith (MBR) started the 30 minute final strong with a flurry of left-handers and put on an excellent display on power surfing. Chad Anderson(ABC) also showed excellent wave selection picking off some great waves. But it was Sid West (ABC) who stole the final in the last 10 minutes picking off two excellent set waves, linking big carves with powerful fins free turns. The crowd enjoyed an exciting final and it will be something not to be forgotten in a hurry.  West is a former winner of this event, and propelled ABC to yet another victory over MBR in the contest.

Overall placings:  1st Sid West (ABC) 2nd Louis Smith (MBR) 3rd Chad Anderson (ABC) 4th Nubby Critchfield (MBR)

ABC Club President Benny Bellerby thanked MBR for putting on an excellent contest, and noted the strong bond that has grown between the clubs since the event’s inception back in 2010 at Medland Beach.  Contest Director Tony Baker also thanked all of the Judges, including Head Judge Isaac Johnston, along with all of the competitors and supporters of the event. Also thanks to everyone who helped out with the food, prizes and other things that made this event a great weekend in Mangawhai.

A Massive thanks to Dave Glover and the team at BAMMAS Surf and Leisure for sponsoring the winner’s prize packs, which include products from Dickies, Rip Curl NZ and Creatures of Leisure. Also thanks to RG Contractors who had sponsored $250 in prize money for the finalists.  Also a huge thanks to Geoff and the team at McLeods Brewery for their ongoing support of Northland Surfing.  Other sponsors included Sparrow & Co Jewellery, Fresh Mangawhai,  Jackson Brown Auto Marine, Chi Whitehead Designs and the Mangawhai Heads VLS.

The Surfing Contest was followed by a Fundraiser Event in Hakaru featuring DJ Tommy King, Whangarei Band WavePig along with Iconic NZ Musicians Laughton Kora, Tyra Hammond, DJ KP and the Sunshine Sound System and local DJ Shaye Te Haara. Massive thanks to Neil from  AW Sound ( ).

Next year MBR will be heading over to Aotea over Easter 2018.  Good times!

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