Bay tar­get 2019 surf ti­tle

Bay of Plenty Times - - SPORT - Kristin Mac­far­lane

Bay of Plenty have been stripped of their Na­tional Scholas­tic Surf­ing Cham­pi­onships ti­tle — but they’re eager and con­fi­dent of get­ting it back.

The Bay of Plenty team — Wil­liam van der Beek, Luke Grif­fen, Alex O’Dwyer, Jack Lee, Jack Hin­ton, Sonny Eades, Ja­cob Saun­ders, Harper McBride, Elin Tawharu, Kia Smith, Ge­or­gia Wed­erell and Anna Brock — have been in Gis­borne this week com­pet­ing in the ju­nior 2018 Na­tional Scholas­tic Surf­ing Cham­pi­onships be­tween Oc­to­ber 8-11.

There was a three-way bat­tle be­tween de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Bay of Plenty, Can­ter­bury and Auck­land on the fi­nal day of the com­pe­ti­tion on Thurs­day, with the lead switch­ing sev­eral times through­out the day and surfers slowly elim­i­nated.

In the end the ti­tle was claimed by the Can­ter­bury team — their first ever team ti­tle from the com­pe­ti­tion, and the first time a South Is­land team has won the event.

Mount Maun­ganui surfer Elin Tawharu was the top per­form­ing Bay of Plenty surfer, help­ing her team, made up of surfers from the Western Bay and Whakatane, to fin­ish third over­all at the event, which is cel­e­brat­ing 30 years.

Bay coach Ady van der Beek says the Bay team has had the ti­tle for five of about six years and al­though an­other team be­ing able to claim it is good for com­pe­ti­tion, the lo­cals will be look­ing to claim it back.

“It’s nice that they’ve been Can­ter­bury: 8008 pts Auck­land: 7590 pts Bay of Plenty: 7565 pts re­warded,” he says.

But, he says he jok­ingly told the Can­ter­bury team that they “bet­ter look after it” be­cause “we’re com­ing for it again next year”.

He says fi­nals day started with per­fect waves at Mako­rori Beach in Gis­borne, al­low­ing surfers to put on a good show but in the last 90 min­utes, on­shore winds ar­rived and de­te­ri­o­rated con­di­tions for the last heats of the event.

“It did come down to a lit­tle bit of the luck of the draw, if you could find a wave.”

“Lead­ing up to the fi­nals ev­ery­one got waves and the best surf­ing was on show.”

But that’s the na­ture of surf­ing, he says.

Auck­land’s Aimee Brown claimed the up­set win of the gold medal in the Un­der-18 Girls’ Divi­sion over Tawharu, who fin­ished fin­ished the event sec­ond, with Christchurch’s Te­gen Bishop in third.

Bay of Plenty’s Ja­cob Saun­ders fin­ished his fi­nal in third place in his first ever fi­nal and in the Un­der-16 Girls’ divi­sion, Mount Maun­ganui’s Ge­or­gia Wed­erell placed sec­ond.

Coach van der Beek says all surfers com­peted well in the com­pe­ti­tion, which al­lows ini­di­vid­ual surfers to rep­re­sent their re­gion and be part of a team.

“It’s a point of dif­fer­ence for this com­pe­ti­tion.”

Hav­ing been part of the com­pe­ti­tion from the start 30 years ago, the big­gest change he has no­ticed in that time is the growth of sup­port from fam­i­lies com­peti­tors have now.

PHOTO / CORY, NZ SURF­ING MAG­A­ZINE

Mount Maun­ganui’s Elin Tawharu at the 2018 Na­tional Scholas­tic Surf­ing Cham­pi­onships in Gis­borne.

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