Teen’s swell bid to make history
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,
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.
Tom Butland celebrates winning the under-16 division.