New Zealand Surf Journal asks the New Zealand surfing industry to rank our 10 best surfers. The concept is simple: include not just the best competitors, but also our very best free surfers and underground chargers. This is who they came up with as we head into 2023.
Surfers are assessed based on their International, Australasian and New Zealand feats, in that order. Those competing in World Surf League (WSL) and International Surfing Association (ISA) events get priority with females and males assessed equally. The rankings are not just based on competitive performance, but also take into account significant free-surfing sessions from the past 12-months. Rising stars can have a place too, but the idea is that if we were sending a Kiwi team to the Olympics being held at pumping Pipeline, Hawaii, what order would you line up the best New Zealand surfers?
THE PANEL OF EXPERTS
The New Zealand surfing industry we canvassed includes media, board shapers, officials and identities who have helped shaped the sport. This year saw a superb battle between first, second and third with just three points separating our top three. To give you some idea of how close that is the step back to third is almost 46 points adrift.
We go into this knowing how flawed the concept is. How can you really rank a group of surfers with such a wide variety of skill sets and without full comprehension of their free-surfing feats? Seriously, that is almost impossible. We acknowledge that, but maybe this list isn’t too far off the mark? And the debate that rages around who got overlooked, skunked and should have been on here is what makes this concept intriguing.