For the first time ever, the National Scholastic Surfing Championships will be held at Piha Beach Auckland at the end of the month. The prestigious five-day surfing event catering for the most talented school based surfers in New Zealand will take place from the 30th of September and will run through until the 4th of October.
Regionally based teams will compete at the event, many of which have been confirmed three weeks out from the start.
The defending champion Bay of Plenty Team will be put to the test this year with several other talent laden teams confirmed.
Bay of Plenty have won the event three of the past five years (2009, 2010 and 2012) showing a consistency that has been unmatched. In 2012 when the event was held at New Plymouth, the Bay of Plenty team was pushed through until the final day of the event with four teams targeting the title. However it was Bay of Plenty that rallied with one title and a number of finals berths to finish with a comprehensive points lead over runner-ups Auckland.
One of the more powerful teams is that of hosts Auckland.
The Auckland Team, competing in home waters this year, will go into the national finals as a team to beat. The young surfers from the region have already competed in a three-event series over winter to gain selection. Two of the three events were contested at Piha with the other being held at Muriwai – all in similar conditions to what is expected at the end of the month. With such great preparation it could be the year that Auckland claims its first scholastic championship.
The Auckland team is stacked with national talent, their strength being in the Under 18 Divisions with the likes of Elliot Paerata – Reid, Waretini Wano and the Sansom twins Bianca and Gabriella that will lead the way.
Paerata – Reid is a New Zealand representative and the current Under 18 Men’s National Champion, a title which he claimed at Piha in January. It was a title that he won over team mate Waretini Wano making the two surfers a formidable duo.
Others to look out for in the host team include Harry Macintosh, Braedyn Louie, Britt Kindred and Luke Crouch who will all be at the forefront of their respective divisions.
Entries into the event remain open until Monday 23rd of September. Several regions are working toward naming their teams over the next two weeks. For some, it will be a case of one or two surfers that will carry their region. However they will take pride in knowing that they have competed alongside the top surfing talent in the country.
The National Scholastic Championships uses the second chance format where all surfers get the chance to compete at least twice before going into the elimination rounds.
Each regional team comprises a maximum of twelve surfers spread across eight divisions including Under 18, 16 and 14 Boys and Girls as well as Under 18 Longboard and Under 18 Bodyboard. All twelve team members contribute points towards the teams overall placing.
This year’s event marks the second year partnering up with WWF to highlight the plight of the Maui’s dolphin. Aptly, Piha Beach is a beach where many sightings of the Maui’s dolphin have been recorded. Approximately 55 Maui’s dolphins exist in New Zealand waters from Taranaki up to the Auckland region.
WWF is running the ‘Maui’s trail’ event, which will feature four different action stations designed to give regional surfing teams the chance to learn more about the threats to these dolphins, where they are found and how people can take action to help save them.
The Maui’s Trial will take place on Wednesday of the event (2nd October)