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Westport Nats Day 2: Top Seeds Dominate

The top seeds in the premier Open Men’s division got their campaigns off to a flying start on Day 2 at the 2022 National Surfing Championships held today at Tauranga Bay, Westport.

Billy Stairmand didn’t disappoint in his opening round at Tauranga Bay. Photo: Derek Morrison

Led by Raglan’s Billy Stairmand, seven of eight top seeds advanced through to the quarterfinals and will take to the water again on Thursday for a chance to break into the top eight at the event.

Today’s action took place at Tauranga Bay for the second day running and was held in 1.5m waves with brisk southwest winds which strengthened through the day.

Stairmand spent the best part of four months at the end of last year chasing an elusive World Tour slot. He returned to New Zealand just prior to Christmas after competing in USA, France, Portugal and Hawaii. Billy ended 2021 ranked 40th on the WSL Challenger Series, short of the top 15 required to get onto the World Tour.

Everyone at the beach today got to witness Stairmand’s world-class form as he surfed his way to a 16.16 point heat total, “throwing away” big scores that fell outside his best two waves counted. He mixed his performance with a series of precision turns before going to the air in the second half of the heat.

Stairmand was almost three points clear of all his opponents in the round despite many of them also putting on a show in their heats.

Whitianga surfer Jay Piper-Healion brought his free surfing form into the event arena on his way to posting a 13.40 point heat total as did Levi Stewart, of Waihi Beach. Both surfers have been putting in hours in and around the event site as they look toward the final days of the event.

Piha surfer Zen Wallis took a comfortable win in his heat and will face off against Stairmand in the quarterfinals tomorrow.

Caleb Cutmore (Rag) and Daniel Farr (Tara) also match up in the quarterfinals after heat wins today, the two posting scores of 12.5 and 11.67 respectively.

Reuben Woods slaying his heats on Day 2 at the New Zealand Surfing Championships held at Tauranga Bay. Photo: Derek Morrison

The second half of the day was filled with senior surfers in divisions from Over 30 Men’s through to Over 55 Men’s. Standout performers included Zen Wallis who backed up his performance in the Open Men’s Division surfing to a 13.3 point heat total in the Over 30 Men’s division. 

Josh Thickpenny (Dun) surfed to a 13.6 point heat total in the Over 35 Men’s division. Reuben Woods was another standout performer in the senior divisions posting a 16.1 point heat total in the Over 40 Men’s division after also advancing to the last 16 in the Open Men’s division. 

Lyndon Fairbairn (Dun) was the standout in the Over 45 Men’s division surfing to a 12.60 point heat total followed closely by Greymouth surfer James Washer who was competing in his first national event.

Neill Robb advanced through two of his senior divisions including the Over 50 and 55 Men’s divisions.

The Brock sisters Anna (red) and Sophia (white) both advanced through their Round 2 heat. Photo: Derek Morrison

Participants in the Under 18 Girls Division got the day underway and Mount Maunganui’s Anna Brock kicked off in the best fashion with a 13.2 point heat total in the opening heat to advance to the semifinals alongside her sister in second place.

Leia Millar continued her good run of form with a win as did fellow Piha surfer Liv Haysom and Skylar McFetridge (Tara).

The swell is expected to build into day three of the event and winds will ease setting up a big day of action for day three. Conditions will likely see us back at Tauranga Bay with the building swell.

More than 320 entries have been received for the event. A total of 29 divisions are being 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

Results from Day 2 of the 2022 National Surfing Championships
Tauranga Bay, Westport
12 January 2022

Open Men’s Division Round 2
Heat 1
Jay Piper – Healion (Whiti), 13.40, 1, Tyler Perry (Kaik), 11.23, 2, Kalani Louis (Tara), 10.23, 3, Jeremy Grainger (Tara), 7.50, 4
Heat 2
Nick Tuhikarama (Chch), 11.07, 1, Jai Earnshaw (W.C), 9.90, 2, Conor Mclennan (Chch), 7.73, 3, Jack Ruhuruhi (Bul), 6.57, 4
Heat 3
Max de Groot (Hbay), 11, 1, Reuben Woods (Mnt), 10.6, 2, Charlie Webb (Auck), 3.87, 3
Heat 4
Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch), 13.33, 1, Jack McKenzie (Chch), 8.17, 2, James Millar (Chch), 8.10, 3, Josh Thickpenny (Dun), 7.80, 4
Heat 5
Daniel Farr (Tara), 11.67, 1, Jai Oakley (Chch), 7.70, 2, Jai Wallis (Piha), 7.50, 3, Kane Rowson (Tara), 6.17, 4
Heat 6
Caleb Cutmore (Rag), 12.5, 1, Sam Sands (Chch), 9.93, 2, Dane Cox, 8.17, 3, Luis Southerwood (Whaka), 7, 4
Heat 7
Billy Stairmand (Rag), 16.16, 1, Jack Wilson (Chch), 12.00, 2, Soren Bucka-Christensen (Tara), 9.53, 3, Karne Gabbott (Dun), 5.53, 4
Heat 8
Zen Wallis (Piha), 13.77, 1, Jake Owen (Dun), 10.73, 2, Corban Grainger (Tara), 6.84, 3, Dion Findlay (W.C), 5.23, 4

Under 18 Girls Division Round 2
Heat 1
Anna Brock (Mnt), 13.2, 1, Sophia Brock (Mnt), 8.93, 2, Pia Rogers (WGM), 8.87, 3, Tui Rudolph (Chch), 6.23, 4
Heat 2
Leia Millar (Piha), 10.4, 1, Ava Henderson (Chch), 9.4, 2, Amilie Wink (Chch), 4.23, 3, Taya Morrison (Dun), 3.27, 4
Heat 3
Skylar Mcfetridge (Tara), 10.8, 1, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 8.96, 2, Asia Braitwaite (Gis), 7.56, 3, Misha Payroux (Dun), 5.56, 4
Heat 4
Liv Haysom (Piha), 9.8, 1, Amanda Gouldsbury (Tara), 4.84, 2, Eloise Addison (Chch), 3.83, 3, Jada Morris (Chch), 3.37, 4

Over 30 Men’s Division Round 1
Heat 1
Zen Wallis (Piha), 13.3, 1, Josh Thickpenny (Dun), 10.6, 2, Dawson Tamati (Tara), 9.64, 3, Sean Hovell (Gis), 6.93, 4
Heat 2
Reuben Woods (Mnt), 11.3, 1, Felipe Santos (Dun), 10.9, 2, Kane Rowson (Tara), 9.4, 3, Jeremy Grainger (Tara), 6.53, 4

Over 40 Men’s Division Round 1
Heat 1
Jai Earnshaw (W.C), 14.9, 1, Luke Murphy (Dun), 10.9, 2, Craig Higgins (Dun), 6.46, 3, Chris Fougere (Piha), 3.33, 4
Heat 2
Reuben Woods (Mnt), 16.1, 1, Stephen Lee (W.C), 10.1, 2, David Melville (Kaik), 9.5, 3, Stu Millar (Piha), 6.16, 4
Heat 3
Jeremy Grainger (Tara), 9.4, 1, Kane Rowson (Tara), 9.3, 2, Lyndon Fairbairn (Dun), 7.04, 3, Steve Morris (Auck), 5.23, 4
Heat 4
Phil Morris (Auck), 13.2, 1, Patrick Braithwaite (Gis), 10.5, 2, Dawson Tamati (Tara), 8.46, 3, Alan Te Moananui (Kaik), 7.86, 4

Over 55 Men’s Division Round 1
Heat 1
Michael De Groot (Hbay), 10.7, 1, Doc Dougherty (Chch), 8.47, 2, Phil Wallis (Piha), 5.16, 3, Shane Wilson (ChCh), 4.66, 4
Heat 2
Jonny Fenton (W.C), 13.4, 1, Grant MacKinnon, 5.74, 2, Jack Griffith (Auck), 5.03, 3
Heat 3
Neill Robb (W.C), 11.4, 1, Francois Sneedon (Hbay), 7.17, 2, Tom Kelly, 3.84, 3

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