Bay target 2019 surf title
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.
Mount Maunganui’s Elin Tawharu at the 2018 National Scholastic Surfing Championships in Gisborne.