Taranaki surfers Paige Hareb and Daniel Farr both claimed their first titles in the premier Open Women’s and Men’s Divisions at the 2022 National Surfing Championships completed at Nine Mile Beach on Saturday.
The final showdown of the five-day event was relocated to Nine Mile Beach where participants were met with clean 1.0m swells all day and light variable winds. Conditions provided an excellent platform for the 29 finals that were contested at the event.
Twenty-two-year-old Farr surfed to a 16.0 point heat total to claim the victory over Raglan’s Billy Stairmand, Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch) and Reuben Woods (Mnt). Farr found himself trailing a near-unstoppable Stairmand early in the heat after Stairmand surfed out to a 15.33 point heat total early on.
Farr was forced to go to the air on multiple occasions knowing that something special was required to snatch the title. Farr’s first completed air pocketing him a 7.07 before his second air with under five minutes to go in the final saw him take the lead scoring an 8.93. Stairmand had one last crack to get the 8.01 point ride required for the win, but came up with a 7.33 point ride and the title was Farr’s.
“Oh mate, I am over the moon,” said Farr fighting back the tears. “It is always nerve racking coming here and having a long week and surfing against the best guys in New Zealand. It’s unbelievable really. I am so stoked.”
“When I was behind it changed my game plan a little bit, I have been practicing airs a lot at home and getting my success rate up so I kinda wanted to do that in the final and it’s a final right? You’re up against an Olympian right? So, I had to pull something special out and luckily I landed those two”.
For the closing three minutes of the final, Farr played defence, sitting right next to Stairmand to put the pressure on and make sure he didn’t gift the lead back.
“I am not afraid to go sit right next to him and try get in his head,” Farr admitted. “I am not sure it did anything – he has done this for years, but I would push him onto a dud if I could, or sneak one from under his priority. I wanted to put the pressure on him for sure,” added Farr of the final moments.
Farr was greeted at the water’s edge by a strong contingent of Taranaki surfers as the final results were read out and he was lifted onto the shoulders of his travelling companions.
“We had a lot of finalists today,” Farr concludes. “Paige taking her first title as well. That is bloody good for the region. We are strong, we have a good culture and we were stoked with the finals day and how it unfolded.”
With Stairmand finishing runner up, it was Waihi Beach surfer Levi Stewart in third and quadruple finalist Reuben Woods (Mnt) who finished in fourth place.
It was Farr’s win that helped New Plymouth Surfriders Club emerge from a tight pack of front runners to take overall top club at the event for the first time.
Paige Hareb ticked off her long-standing goal of etching her name on the Open Women’s trophy.
With unrivalled international success, Hareb has often been unable to compete at the National Championships and on the few occasions she has, she has come up short of the desired win … until today.
Hareb looked to be in control of the final from the outset surfing to a 7.17 on her second ride and later backing that up with a 6.43 point ride to finish with a 13.6 point heat total and comfortable victory.
“I am stoked, but it is almost a relief … it was almost becoming a curse,” laughed Hareb of her first title. “I don’t have to do a Nationals ever again now … I mean I will, but not having a title played on my mind every year, so I will probably be more relaxed next year.”
Hareb, the consummate professional, had surfed smart heats all week, doing what was required in often tricky conditions. The finals day was no different as Hareb went about her work strategically.
“It was kinda fun out there, I watched Ava [Henderson] in the Under 18 Girls Division final and saw where she was sitting. I know she surfs a bit here, so I watched where she was sitting, I had a game plan and it worked out.”
With the title in the bag, Hareb now embarks on the Regional Qualifying Series in Australia and navigating international travel to secure a World Tour slot for 2023.
“I am home on Monday and then head to Australia mid-February,” she explains. “I have already had one flight cancelled, but I am looking forward to getting over there and starting off my international campaign.”
Ava Henderson (Chch) finished the final in second place scoring 12.0 points and left needing a 7.48 point ride for victory to add to her Under 18 Girls Division title. Raglan’s Brie Bennett finished in third place, her best result at the National Championships, and double finalists and Under 16 Girls’ Champion, Pia Rogers (WGM) finished fourth in her first appearance at this level.
Henderson was joined by Waikuku Beach surfer Rakiatea Tau as the two Under 18 Division champions. Tau, a double finalist, claiming his first ever national title. Henderson has previously won the U14s, U16, 2 x Under 18 and an Open Women’s title, making this her sixth national title.
Rogers was joined by Sumner Beach surfer Jack Tyro as the Under 16 Division champion. Both surfers claimed the titles in the dying stages of their respective finals, Rogers, on her last wave with seconds to go on the clock when she belted a big backhand closeout turn for a 5.93 point ride and the win.
Under 14 Division titles went to Alexis Owen (Dun) in the Boys, his second after winning in 2020 at home in Dunedin, and form surfer of the division Poppy Entwisle (Chch).
Jack Tyro’s title in the Under 16 Boys Division was his third of the day after early surfing to a win in the Under 18 Boys Longboard Division and then going on to claim a shock win in the Men’s Longboard Division with some excellent surfing.
Gabi Paul (Piha) defended her title in the Women’s Longboard, her fourth straight in the division.
Amanda Gouldsbury (Tara) beat her sister Natasha to win the Under 18 Girls Longboard Division.
Senior Men’s and Women’s titles were shared around the country with Josh Thickpenny (Dun) in the Over 30s, four-time finalist Reuben Woods picking up the Over 35s, local surfer Jai Earnshaw winning in the Over 40s and Lyndon Fairbairn (Dun) picking up the Over 45s. Dunedin picked up another title in the Over 50s via Richard Ayson. Hawke’s Bay surfer Francois Sneedon won the Over 55s and Auckland Jack Griffith won his first title in the Over 60 Men’s Division.
Senior Women’s titles went to Paige Hareb in the Over 30s, Lucy TeMoananui (Kaik) in the Over 35s, Melissa Woods (Mnt) in the Over 40s and Carolyn Millar (Piha) in the Over 45s.
Sean Hovell (Gis) and Billie Scott took victories in the Men’s and Women’s SUP Divisions.
Reuben Woods was awarded the Peter Byers Most Outstanding Performance award for the event. Woods surfed in four divisions at the event and finalled in all of them. He surfed four heats a day for the final three days of the event and together with his whole family, epitomised what a National Championships week is all about.
The Volkswagen x Skinnies Wave of the Day went to Daniel Farr for his winning wave in the Open Men’s Division Final.
More than 320 entries were received for the event with a total of 29 divisions contested including the premier Open Men and Women, plus additional divisions comprising of age groups from Under 14 boys and girls through to Over 60s for males and females and Longboard, Stand Up Paddleboard, Bodyboard and Kneeboard disciplines.
Report: Ben Kennings/Surfing New Zealand
Photos: Derek Morrison
Full Results 2022 National Surfing Championships
Nine Mile Beach, Westport
January 11-15, 2022
Open Men’s Division Final
Daniel Farr (Tara), 16.00, 1, Billy Stairmand (Rag), 15.33, 2, Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch), 12.67, 3, Reuben Woods (Mnt), 12.17, 4
Open Women’s Division Final
Paige Hareb (Tara), 13.6, 1, Ava Henderson (Chch), 12, 2, Brie Bennett (Rag), 9.33, 3, Pia Rogers (WGM), 5.56, 4
Under 18 Boys Division Final
Rakiatea Tau (Chch), 14.4, 1, Kalani Louis (Tara), 13.4, 2, Lewis Murphy (Dun), 9.9, 3, Spencer Rowson (Tara), 7.2, 4
Under 18 Girls Division Final
Ava Henderson (Chch), 14.7, 1, Anna Brock (Mnt), 11.8, 2, Liv Haysom (Piha), 9.64, 3, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 7.97, 4
Under 16 Boys Division Final
Jack Tyro (Chch), 14.37, 1, Rakiatea Tau (Chch), 13.13, 2, Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 12.07, 3, Dale Cromhout (Hbay), 8.37, 4
Under 16 Girls Division Final
Pia Rogers (WGM), 11.9, 1, Skylar Mcfetridge (Tara), 11.7, 2, Sophia Brock (Mnt), 6.9, 3, Poppy Entwisle (Chch), 6.2, 4
Under 14 Boys Division Final
Alexis Owen (Dun), 12.5, 1, Sam Frazerhurst (Auck), 9.33, 2, Remy Sale (Mnt), 8.87, 3, Jordie Luke (Tara), 3.9, 4
Under 16 Girls Division Final
Poppy Entwisle (Chch), 10.1, 1, India Kennings WGM), 5.43, 2, Kyra Wallis (Piha), 3.64, 3, Tessa Gabbott (Dun), 2.77, 4
Over 30 Men’s Division Final
Josh Thickpenny (Dun), 12.34, 1, Reuben Woods (Mnt), 11.23, 2, Zen Wallis (Piha), 7.33, 3, Felipe Santos (Dun), 6.34, 4
Over 35 Men’s Division Final
Reuben Woods (Mnt), 12.7, 1, Kane Rowson (Tara), 11.4, 2, Jai Earnshaw (W.C), 10.5, 3, Josh Thickpenny (Dun), 9.86, 4
Over 40 Men’s Division Final
Jai Earnshaw (W.C), 14.3, 1, Reuben Woods (Mnt), 12.3, 2, Stephen Lee (W.C), 6.3, 3, Phil Morris (Auck), 5.7, 4
Over 45 Men’s Division Final
Lyndon Fairbairn (Dun), 11.4, 1, Patrick Braithwaite (Gis), 8.93, 2, Morgan Cronin (Auck), 8.16, 3, Neal Pullen, 5.76, 4
Over 50 Men’s Division Final
Richard Ayson (Dun), 14, 1, Lee Morris (Chch), 9.5, 2, Neal Pullen, 8.57, 3, Morgan Cronin (Piha), 5.83, 4
Over 55 Men’s Division Final
Francois Sneedon (Hbay), 12.3, 1, Jonny Fenton (W.C), 10.8, 2, Neill Robb (W.C), 7.23, 3, Doc Dougherty (Chch), 6.4, 4
Over 60 Men’s Division Final
Jack Griffith (Auck)
Men’s Longboard Division Final
Jack Tyro (Chch), 12.2, 1, Hugh Ritchie (Chch), 10.2, 2, Geordie Sawyer (Gis), 9.96, 3, Dion Findlay (W.C), 7.3, 4
Under 18 Boys Longboard Final
Jack Tyro (Chch), 14.16, 1, Archie Whithear (Chch), 7.6, 2, Will Jamieson (Chch), 6.94, 3, Geordie Sawyer (Gis), 6.44, 4
Women’s Longboard Division Final
Gabi Paul (Piha), 14.2, 1, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 9.77, 2, Stella Smith (Gis), 8.43, 3, Tui Rudolph (ChCh), 7.87, 4
Under 18 Girls Division Final
Amanda Gouldsbury (Tara), 8.3, 1, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 7.9, 2, Tui Rudolph (Chch), 7.9, 3, Amelie Wink (Chch), 6.03, 4
Men’s Stand Up Paddleboard Division Final
Sean Hovell (Gis), 15.6, 1, Al Te Moananui (Kaik), 12.2, 2, Kane Rowson (Tara), 7.13, 3, Greg Maniatis, 0, 4
Women’s Standup Paddleboard Division Final
Billie Scott (Whngrei), 11.3, 1, Stella Smith (Gis), 10.3, 2, Amelie Wink (ChCh), 7.4, 3,
Men’s Bodyboard Division Final
Aaron Lock (Chch), 15.1, 1, Sean Hovell (Gis), 9.9, 2
Over 45 Women’s Division Final
Carolyn Millar (Piha), 9, 1, Donna Henderson (Chch), 8.67, 2, Jane Schofield (Dun), 2.57, 3
Over 40 Women’s Division Final
Melissa Woods (Mnt), 4.6, 1, Jackie Hughes (Dun), 1.00, 2
Over 30 Women’s Division Final
Paige Hareb (Tara), 12, 1, Anna Hawes (W.C), 4.34, 2
Over 35 Women’s Division Final
Lucy Te Moananui (Kaik), 6.43, 1, Pana Leontiadu (W.C), 4.34, 2
Samuel Coyne, 17.7, 1, Graeme Timmis, 10.5, 2, Murray Weir, 8.2, 3, Tracey Skelton, 7.2, 4, Jamin Allington, 5, 5