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40 Frames: King & Queen Of The Point 2024

Billy Stairmand and Kehu Butler put on a masterclass in big, stormy, unruly Manu Bay as a new guard rises to nip at their heels at the Backdoor King and Queen of the Point.

Dusk at Manu Bay and barely any swell on offer. Photo: Derek Morrison

Backdoor’s King and Queen of the Point surf competition attracts most of the best surfers in New Zealand and this year even a few internationals. The great Tom Carroll, Jesse Starling, Joel Vaughan, Dimity Stoyle and Coco Cairns all made the trip over for this one.

After a run of back-to-back weekend swells at Raglan in the previous five weeks the Tasman Sea had other ideas for the event weekend. Instead it was taking a break from the lined-up corduroy perfection we have come to know and love. Instead, a giant mass of swell pushed right below the South Island and sent its energy up our East Coast and toward Tahiti (the Teahupo’o WSL event made hay with that one).

The glancing blow meant we had two days of 1-2 foot lazy swell at Manu Bay with increasingly pesky onshore winds, swarms of squalls, and a finals day of junky 3-5 foot 10-second period sloping walls. It was bad, but somehow the surf contest was actually a real thriller.

Very cool to see Tom Carroll shredding at 62 and being such a cool cat. Photo: Derek Morrison

One of the highlights was getting to see Tom Carroll still ripping at 62. And stoked on surfing in the pretty miserable conditions. Love that energy. One of the biggest highlights was seeing Billy Stairmand and Kehu Butler going wave for wave in the final. Billy ended up winning the event with some incredible in-the-pocket turns in some of the few waves that bowled right up for him.

Billy takes the win at Raglan after a huge battle with Kehu Butler. Photo: Derek Morrison

A few hours after winning it Billy was on a plane and off to Indonesia for the Krui Pro. Then he’s back for a day and off to Tahiti right in his countdown for the Olympics.

A couple of other standouts from the King & Queen of the Point were in the Under 20s with Taranaki’s Spencer Rowson, Ohope’s Tai Murphy, and Raglan’s Navryn Malone and Van Camenzind all showing their intentions for future crowns.

Piha’s Kyra Wallis relishing some lumpy conditions at Manu Bay. Photo: Derek Morrison

We also saw the continuation of the changing of the guard in the women’s with Raglan’s Alani Morse, Pauanui’s Lola Groube and Piha’s Kyra Wallis making both the Under 20s finals and Open Women’s finals. All three can throw it down in the bigger conditions and took the fight to eventual Open Women’s winner Aimee Brown.

Even with horizontal rain squalls and junky waves, Raglan still manages to weave some of its charm into the weekend.

One moment that really resonates with us came after the final prizegiving when the carpark had cleared out and the lineup was returned to the people of Raglan. A sole figure was spotted walking around the entire Manu Bay site collecting any rubbish that had been inadvertently left behind. It was Geoff Hutchison – the owner of Backdoor and arguably the most powerful person in New Zealand surfing right now. The respect he showed in that act reveals his love for Raglan and is testament to the character of the man.

The contest venue was left in better shape than when we arrived thanks to Hutch. Photo: Derek Morrison
Backdoor’s King and Queen of the Point in 40 Frames:
Billy Stairmand taking the win.The final four in the Open Men's.Kehu Butler chasing Billy down in the final.Tiny swell for the early rounds. Billy Stairmand drawing off the bottom.Jesse Starling and Rewa Morrison.Kehu Butler going vert in front of Billy.Local lads, Navryn and BillyAlani Morse to the air.Rewa Morrison on a dawn runner.Jesse Starling down the line. Te Kehukehu Butler. Alani Morse raking the leaves. Spencer Rowson on form at the King and Queen of the Point.Billy Stairmand on his way to the win.Dawn at Manu Bay. Photo: Derek MorrisonTai Murphy for the Under 20s win. TC the great. Kehu throwing caution. Billy always making time for his fans.Navryn Malone on form at the King and Queen of the Point held at Manu Bay.Injured surfer Will Hardie drafted into the judge's box. Keo Morrison through the flags.Jump rock. Kyra WallisParty wave with Tom Butland, Poppy Arkle, Kyra Wallis and Tom Carroll.Tom Carroll surfs a heat.The super smooth Spencer Rowson.Hutch pulls out a clutch move to progress through Round 1.Local rising grom Navryn Malone.Billy and Taxman. Lola Groube stepping up at Manu Bay. Stormy through the trees. Alani Morse on a mission.Surfing NZ photog CPL.


Full Results Backdoor King and Queen of the Point
Manu Bay, Raglan
May 24-26, 2024
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