Canterbury claims the title with a solid team performance as the 2020 National Scholastics Surfing Championships go down to the wire in Kaikoura.
With a clean 3-4 foot swell reeling down the banks at Meatworks at sunrise the lineup was jam-packed. Locals called it a 10 out of 10, but it very quickly deteriorated into contestable, but challenging conditions by the time the cogs of the contest machine lurched into action.
The Canterbury Team overcame a fierce three-way battle with Bay of Plenty and Auckland, the lead switching regions several times on the final day of the event before the title headed south for the year.
It is only the second time in 32 years that Canterbury has claimed the title, the last coming in 2018. The dominant Bay of Plenty, who has won the title a record nine times, finished runner-up this week leaving Auckland in third place still hunting for their first team title at the event.
Canterbury surfed to victory with three titles from their five finalists. Titles went to Under 16 surfers Jai Oakley and Ava Henderson as well as the youngest team member Jack Tyro who claimed a title in the Under 14 Boys Division.
It was the conversion rate of finalists to winners that sealed the title for Canterbury with Bay of Plenty narrowly missing out on gaining titles from their eight finalists. Auckland claimed two titles from five finalists with Leia Millar winning the Under 14 Girls Division and Nat Fitt winning the Under 18 Longboard Division.
The action-packed day saw Piha’s most frothing up and comer Leia Millar win the Under 14 Girls with Sophia Brock in second, Misha Peyroux in third and Pia Rogers in fourth. Millar was a stand out all week and her performances were also good enough for her to win the Adam Clegg Award for Breakthrough Performer of the Event. The award is voted on by all participants at the event and is a testament from their peers.
The Under 14 Boys was cleaned up by Jack Tyro, with Mathias Thompson in second, Tai Murphy third and Tava Santorik fourth.
Ava Henderson made up for her semi-final wobble (where teammate Leah Wilson got the better of her) to win the Under 16 title. Leah Wilson, who had a breakthrough performance at the event, finished second with Anna Brock third and Natasha Gouldsbury fourth.
Jai Oakley won his first national title in the Under 16 Boys in convincing style. He beat Ari D’Anvers (second), Kalani Louis in third and Izaak Hayes in fourth.
The Under 18 Girls was dominated by Jaya Reardon who posted a 11.75 heat total to second-place Georgia Wederell’s 6.2. Teammate Anika Ayson finished third with Amelie Wink in fourth. Jaya Reardon claimed Otago’s first title in two years with her performance being underpinned by an awesome right hander mid-way through the final that netted her a 6.25 point ride. It is the fourth title that has gone to Otago in the history of the event with the Otago girls also securing a third from Anika Ayson in the Under 18 Girls Division and a third from Misha Peyroux in the Under 14 Girls Division this week.
The Under 18 Boys was won by Whangarei’s Tom Robinson, with Jacob Saunders in second, Luis Southerwood third and Sam Charlesworth fourth. Robinson helped his team to fourth overall and was welcomed back to shore by a stirring haka from his team mates. Northland had three further finalists, which saw the team narrowly miss out on a podium finish.
Bay of Plenty’s Jacob Saunders won the Breakthrough Performance Award for the guys after standing out all week in the Under 18 Boys Division. Saunders came up short of the win on the final day with a runner-up finish. On his final wave seconds prior to the final hooter, Saunders required a 6.21, but finished with a 5.0 point ride much to the disappointment of him and his team mates.
The longboard division was won by Natt Fitt, with Billy Whelan second, Sonny Eades third and Ben Counsell in fourth.
Fitt secured Auckland’s second title continuing his standout performances from the week of surfing. It was a repeat of the 2019 final for the longboarders and Fitt was happy to reverse the result after finishing third last year.
A young Taranaki Team produced two finalists with Kalani Louis finishing third in the Under 16 Boys Division and Natasha Gouldsbury finishing fourth in the Under 16 Girls Division.
Coromandel secured just the one finalist with their lone female, Pia Rogers, finishing fourth in the Under 14 Girls Division.
The five-day event rounds out a series of regional qualifiers for the eleven teams in attendance. 110 surfers participated in the event after having qualified to represent their twelve-person teams.
The National Scholastic Championships comprises seven age group divisions for males and females across both shortboard and longboard disciplines.
GALLERY: FINALS DAY
Full Results 2020 National Scholastic Surfing Championships
Overall Team Points
1, Canterbury, 12605
2, Bay of Plenty, 12080
3, Auckland, 11878
4, Northland, 11571
5, Otago, 9477
6, West Coast, 8995
7, Coromandel, 8015
8, Taranaki, 7073
9, Wellington, 5978
10, Hawkes Bay, 5851
11, Gisborne, 2581
Under 18 Boys Finals
Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 12.4, 1, Jacob Saunders (BOP), 12.1, 2, Luis Southwood (Whaka), 11, 3, Sam Charlesworth (Auck), 6.5, 4
Under 16 Boys Finals
Jai Oakley (Chch), 13.25, 1, Ari D’Anvers (Whngrei), 11, 2, Kalani Louis (Tara), 8.4, 3, Izak Hayes (Whngrei), 4.25, 4
Under 14 Boys Finals
Jack Tyro (Chch), 12.5, 1, Mathias Thompson (Piha), 10.2, 2, Tai Murphy (Whaka), 9.6, 3, Tava Santorik (Mnt), 8.45, 4
Under 18 Girls Finals
Jaya Reardon (Dun), 11.75, 1, Georgia Wederell (Mnt), 6.2, 2, Anika Ayson (Dun), 6, 3, Amelie Wink (Chch), 4.15, 4
Under 16 Girls Finals
Ava Henderson (Chch), 15.55, 1, Leah Wilson (Chch), 9.65, 2, Anna Brock (Mnt), 7.15, 3, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 6.55, 4
Under 14 Girls Finals
Leia Millar (Piha), 11.15, 1, Sophia Brock (Mnt), 10.1, 2, Misha Peyroux (Dun), 7.15, 3, Pia Rogers (WGM), 6.8, 4
Under 18 Longboard Final
Natt Fitt (Auck), 15.2, 1, Billy Whelan (Nrth), 11.75, 2, Sonny Eades (BOP), 5.85, 3, Ben Counsell (Auck), 5.85, 4