Teen’s swell bid to make his­tory

Taranaki Daily News - - News - Bri­anna McIl­raith

His­tory was nar­rowly missed on the fi­nal day of the Na­tional Surf­ing Cham­pi­onships at Stent Rd in Taranaki on Satur­day.

Teenager Tom But­land was on tar­get to achieve an his­toric surf­ing first, af­ter the win­ner of the un­der-16 boys’ divi­sion also made the open men’s fi­nal. No surfer has ever won both classes.

But de­spite hav­ing the crowd be­hind him, fourth place was the best But­land could man­age in a line-up that also fea­tured Ri­cardo Christie (Gis), Billy Stair­mand (Rag) and El­liot Paer­ata-Reid (Piha). Stair­mand se­cured his seventh na­tional ti­tle with a score of 17.6, ahead of Christie, 16.27, Paer­ata-Reid, 15.33 and But­land,

11.27.

Surf­ing since he was three, the

15-year-old un­der­dog man­aged to up­set the com­pe­ti­tion early on in the day by beat­ing Christie in the semi­fi­nals, mak­ing him the crowd favourite.

‘‘It was a good feel­ing,’’ But­land said. ‘‘I was just try­ing to surf my own heat with­out him that was my goal.’’

Al­though he didn’t man­age to take out the men’s con­test, he was still chuffed with his win in the un­der-16 boys’ cat­e­gory with a score of 15.74.

Af­ter mak­ing his way back to shore af­ter the win, friends lifted him up onto their shoul­ders and the spec­ta­tors cheered, cel­e­brat­ing the lo­cal’s suc­cess.

He wasn’t the only Taranaki surfer to take out a ti­tle through­out the seven-day com­pe­ti­tion. Taranaki’s first ti­tle was se­cured at Arawhata Rd, near Opunake, on Thurs­day when Jamie An­drews won the men’s standup pad­dle board divi­sion.

It was An­drews’ first na­tional ti­tle af­ter go­ing close at the event in 2018 and this time he left noth­ing to chance, post­ing a 17.74 heat to­tal, more than three points ahead of Sean Hovell in se­cond, with 14.06, Ge­off Par­doe in third and Jamie Scott in fourth.

Three other Taranaki surfers se­cured podium fin­ishes on Thurs­day. Ry­der Pen­ning­ton fin­ished se­cond, be­hind Raglan’s Navryn Malone, in the un­der-14 boys, while Jo Moore also fin­ished se­cond, be­hind Gabi Paul, in the women’s long­board. Brian Clark fin­ished se­cond, be­hind John Gisby, in the over-60s. It was Gisby’s 36th na­tional ti­tle over­all, a record for do­mes­tic surf­ing.

Thandi Durham won the se­nior women’s divi­sion with a score of 9.66.

Kelvin Weir won the Knee­board divi­sion with a twowave heat to­tal of 13.94, ahead of Ken­ton Os­mond in se­cond,

Tracey Skel­ton in third and Craig McDon­ald in fourth.

In the body­board fi­nal it was Piha’s Craig McDon­ald who came out on top of lo­cals Gareth Collins, Jeremy Stark and Michael Drom­gool, who fin­ished in se­cond, third and fourth re­spec­tively. Later on Fri­day, Chris Blain won the over-50s men’s divi­sion with a heat score of 14.2, ahead of Brian Young, 12.3, An­drew Mann, 7.87, and Ge­off Hutchi­son, 3.23.

The men’s over-30 fi­nal on Satur­day was an all-Taranaki af­fair, with Jarred Han­cox tak­ing the win with a score of 15.16 fol­lowed by Bach­e­lor Tipene, 12.9, Dwaine Mataa, 9.8 and Danny Kaweroa, 4.84.

Natasha Goulds­bury, 14, claimed the un­der-16 girls’ ti­tle, Manu Schafer the men’s over-40 ti­tle, Luke Kerr was the men’s over-35 win­ner, and Thandi Durham won the se­nior women’s divi­sion with a score of 9.66.

GLENN JEF­FREY/STUFF

Tom But­land cel­e­brates win­ning the un­der-16 divi­sion.

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