Paige Hareb and Taylor Hutchison have risen to the challenge to win the 20th edition of the Rip Curl Raglan Pro held at Manu Bay at the weekend.
Raglan’s Taylor Hutchison and Taranaki’s Paige Hareb surfed to big wins at the Rip Curl Pro Raglan presented by Corona today (Sunday, March 21) as they decimated the perfect waves wrapping into Manu Bay.
The high scoring finals were optimised by the two winning totals, Hutchison finishing with a 17.6-point heat total and Hareb finishing with a 16.60-point heat total.
The swell was expected to decrease throughout the day, but instead it built from dawn getting to 1.0m – 1.5m for the afternoon heats and finals with glassy conditions throughout the morning giving way to sea breezes in the afternoon.
Hutchison continued his good form throughout the early stages of the event after posting the only perfect 10-point ride on day one and then posting excellent scores in all three heats he contested today.
“I am stoked to finally get a win here at home,” smiled Hutchison from the podium. “I had such a good run this weekend and to surf in the final with these guys was awesome.”
“Most heats or finals when your opponents are chasing over a nine-point ride, you think you are pretty safe but not out there today,” he added. “The waves were so good and these guys in the final all had waves in that range so it was not over until that final hooter.”
Hutchison’s precision backhand appeared to have stepped up a notch this weekend where he continually found the biggest waves with the best form and surfed tight and aggressive in the pocket.
Waihi Beach surfer Levi Stewart was the closest of Hutchison’s opponents, however, only one point separated second through fourth. Stewart had an excellent run through to the finals and finished with a 15.97-point heat total in the final to better Alex Dive (Mnt) in third and the youngest of the finalists, Tom Robinson (Whngrei) in fourth.
Earlier in the day Hutchison and Robinson defeated Conor McLennan (Chch) and Chris Malone in the first semifinal while Dive and Stewart defeated Ricardo Christie (Gis) and Sean Peggs (Tairua) in the second.
Hareb controlled the Open Women’s Division Final from start to finish after opening with good scores and holding priority through the latter stages of the final to find the best waves.
“We had such great waves all weekend so the level of surfing was so good from everyone,” said Hareb.
“It is good to get the win out there, I feel like I am on a roll after making the finals at the National Championships as well and now winning the Rip Curl Pro, even though it was still hard to secure eight and nine point rides from the judges,” she added.
Hareb’s superior speed and vertical turns and powerful wraps down the corner of Manu Bay kept her opponents at arm’s length. Hareb makes it two wins from two at Raglan after her most recent win at Manu Bay in November last year.
15-year-old Ava Henderson (Chch) was the closest to Hareb, but several smaller waves in the dying stages of the final were never going to be enough for the 8.5 ride she required to challenge Hareb, who patiently sat out the back with priority waiting for the best waves.
Henderson finished with a 14.63-point heat total, 0.03 point clear of defending Rip Curl Pro champion Raiha Ensor (Mnt) who placed third and Gabrielle Paul (Piha) who finished in fourth place.
Earlier in the day Hareb and Paul defeated Liv Haysom (Piha) in the first semifinal while Ensor and Henderson defeated Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara) in the second semifinal.
The Rip Curl Pro is the final event before the New Zealand Surfing Team is named early next week with the team set to attend the ISA World Surfing Games being held in El Salvador from May 29 to June 6, 2021.
The Rip Curl Pro is the second event of the New Zealand Surf Series, which heads south to Dunedin and Christchurch in the next month before events at Taranaki and Piha to conclude the season in May.
Story: Ben Kennings/Surfing New Zealand
Photos: Cory Scott/Surfing New Zealand
Final results from the Rip Curl Raglan Pro presented by Corona
Manu Bay, Raglan
Sunday, March 20-21, 2021
Open Men’s Round of 32 (Heats 5-8)
Dune Kennings (Piha), 14.77, 1, Buck Woods (Gis), 11.17, 2, Luke Griffin (Mnt), 9.67, 3, Waretini Wano (Piha), 6.9, 4
Ricardo Christie (Mahia), 16.84, 1, Sean Peggs (Tairua), 14.3, 2, Thomas Carter (Waihi Bch), 10.4, 3, Johnny Hicks (Gis), 9.4, 4
Tom Butland (Tara), 13.63, 1, Jay Piper – Healion (Whiti), 12.47, 2, Myka Black (chch), 10.97, 3, Jarred Hancox (Tara), 9.96, 4
Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch), 13.23, 1, Alex Dive (Mnt), 11.83, 2, Paul Moretti (Nrthlnd), 11.1, 3, Rian Boyd (Auck), 9.47, 4
Open Men’s Division Quarterfinals
Taylor Hutchison (Rag), 15.2, 1, Conor McLennan (Chch), 14.84, 2, Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 13.47, 3, Luis Southerwood (Whaka), 10.8, 4
Chris Malone (Gis), 12.54, 1, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 12.07, 2, Daniel Farr (Tara), 8.17, 3, Zen Wallis (Piha), 6.93, 4
Ricardo Christie (Mahia), 15.7, 1, Sean Peggs (Tairua), 15.44, 2, Dune Kennings (Piha), 14.26, 3, Buck Woods (Gis), 7.5, 4
Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch), 15.9, 1, Alex Dive (Mnt), 15.8, 2, Jay Piper – Healion (Whiti), 13.87, 3, Tom Butland (Tara), 11.37, 4
Open Men’s Division Semifinals
Taylor Hutchison (Rag), 17.53, 1, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 16.43, 2, Conor McLennan (Chch), 15.23, 3, Chris Malone (Gis), 14.23, 4
Alex Dive (Mnt), 15.3, 1, Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch), 14.9, 2, Ricardo Christie (Mahia), 14.2, 3, Sean Peggs (Tairua), 10.96, 4
Open Men’s Division Final
Taylor Hutchison (Rag), 17.6, 1, Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch), 15.97, 2, Alex Dive (Mnt), 15.84, 3, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 14.97, 4
Open Women’s Division Quarterfinals
Gabrielle Paul (Piha), 12.5, 1, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 11.2, 2, Anna Brock (Mnt), 8.17, 3, Saffi Vette (Gis), 6.17, 4
Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 13.1, 1, Paige Hareb (Tara), 12.56, 2, Zhana Hutchieson (Tara), 9, 3, Georgia Wederell (Mnt), 8.57, 4
Ava Henderson (Chch), 13.84, 1, Liv Haysom (Piha), 12.26, 2, Ariana Shewry (Oakura), 11.6, 3, Brie Bennett (Rag), 11.13, 4
Open Women’s Division Semifinal
Paige Hareb (Tara), 15.54, 1, Gabrielle Paul (Piha), 11.76, 2, Liv Haysom (Piha), 11.7, 3
Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 14.77, 1, Ava Henderson (Chch), 14.1, 2, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 11.87, 3
Open Women’s Division Final
Paige Hareb (Tara), 16.6, 1, Ava Henderson (Chch), 14.6, 2, Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 14.6, 3, Gabrielle Paul (Piha), 14.2, 4
2021 New Zealand Surf Series Schedule
Emerson’s South Island Championships, Dunedin – April 2-4
Exit Surf Men’s Canterbury Championships, Christchurch (mobile) – April 24-28
Backdoor Taranaki Pro, Taranaki –May 1-2
Super 16, Piha – May 16