Wellington Champs 18th & 18th May 2019
On the 18th and 19th May 2019, Wellington Boardriders held the Wellington Champs, bringing Wellington’s best surfers together to compete for the titles of Wellington Champs.
Day one saw competitors greeted by small, groomed waves in the waist-to-chest high range. With 107 plus entries, competition commenced immediately in the emerging dawn light.
Open Men round 1 was first in the water, followed by Junior Men's round 1 and then Open Men round 2. With a dropping tide, Tangaroa slowed, making for difficult conditions. There were only two heat strategies competitors could take – get to work on the inside or utilise priority, waiting patiently for a set to possibly arrive. Both strategies left competitors at the mercy of the conditions, with some just sneaking through and others storming through on the luck of getting a set.
As the day progressed and the tide crept in, the swell slowly built in size – right in time for the Junior Men quarters, semis, final, the Junior Women's Finals and the Body Board final.
In the Junior Men's quarters, it was the dynamic duo of the Healy brothers who stamped their authority on the line-up. But not to be outdone were Flynn Rapson, Jonah Christians, Liam McCardle, Zepplin Waite, Max Hahn and Lachlan Reddish who all made it to the semi-finals. There the boys continued to push each other to surf their best with Flynn Healy, Jonah Christians, Max Hahn, and Liam McCardle progressing to the final.
In the Junior Women's, the swell really started to peak – Mae Armstrong caught some bombs that were well overhead posting some good scores. Not to be outdone was her sister Kaia, joined by Ngawi Collins, Maia Mcghie and Bec Jenkins who all posted good rides. But ultimately, it was Georgia Ballentyne with her relentless top-to-bottom approach, belting the lip who took the heat out… expect big things from her in the future people.
The Bodyboard final entered the water with finalists getting straight to work. In the end though, it was Javier Luengo who took the win over Aaron Ratahi and national hero Dr Bubbles, who gave Javier a run for his money.
The Junior Men Final was the last heat of the day and the boys didn’t disappoint – tearing the bags out of it and trying to sell each other waves in a bid to gain priority. Flynn Healy was particularly hungry, harrying his competitors and covering vast distances in a bid to get the win. In the end though, it was Jonah Christians who found himself on the best waves of every set, and took out the heat, with Flynn Healy in second, Liam McCardle third, and Max Hahn in fourth place.
Day two saw the saw the contest commentator and Club President’s words from the day before ring true… “You’ve got to grind to get tomorrow’s gold”. Contestants were greeted by a much larger swell and light offshores. The setting up of the judging tent and competition area was frequently delayed as organisers and volunteers stopped to gawk and hoot at the overhead sets running down the wall and doubling up on the bank.
First out for the morning was the Quarterfinals of the Open Men. Each quarter was a hard-fought battle between contestants with long lulls interspersed with relentless sets. In the end it was Ilan Fisher, Joe Kelly, Sam Curtin, Dan Quill, Matt Burner, Tim Collins, Andrew Beaufort, and comp newbie Dave ‘the Wave’ Lakin who went to the semi-finals.
Next up was the Masters semi-finals. Looking like a line-up of the LBC originals, the salt and pepper contingent were more competitive than their younger selves ever were. At the conclusion of the semis it was Dave Laking, Rico lane, Sloan McPhee and Matt Titcombe – son of Wellington surfing legend and stalwart, Roger Titcombe – who progressed to the finals.
The Longboarders Semi-finalists were treated to beautiful glassy conditions and a steady run of sets. It was youth against age in each heat with the likes of Tane Gonzalez, Karson Burns and Matt Norris representing the groms against the elder statesmen like Kirk Beyer and Matt Titcombe. Despite their best efforts, the groms came up short against Kirk, Matt and the talented Matt Burner and Sam Curtin.
As the first of the Open Women Semi-final heats paddled out, the wind swung hard south and the swell stopped, leading to a tough heat for the competitors. It was Bec Jenkins and Sera Price who kept busy and got through to the final. Heat two was kinder on the swell front, with Tui Wright and NZ surfing royalty – Holly Quinn making it to the final.
The Open Men's semi-final one saw fireworks as Burner, Collins, Beaufort and Quill went ham to get a spot in the final. In a tight heat, it was Collins and Quill who moved forward. In an equally contested heat two, it was Ilan Fisher and Joe Kelly who progressed through to the finals.
The first final was the Open Women. By this point the wind had swung southeast and conditions improved vastly which the women capitalised on, attacking everything in sight. But it was Holly Quinn who prevailed, followed by Sera Price in 2nd, Tui Wright in 3rd, and Bec Jenkins in 4th.
The Masters final was out next, with Rico Lane and Dave ‘the Wave’ Laking busily hunting waves on the inside while Sloan McPhee and Matt Titcombe waited patiently for sets. Matt got one and Sloan didn’t quite manage one so changed tactics, but it wasn’t enough. It was Rico Lane with his aggressive wave hunting who took 1st, followed by Matt Titcombe in 2nd, Sloan McPhee in 3rd and Dave Laking 4th.
The last heat of the day was the Open Men's Final. Everyone waited with bated breath for what was expected to be a hell of a show. Sure enough, the heat started and a set came through with competitors going to town on the waves… Ilan Fisher getting the best of the exchange. While Wellington surf fans hoped for more, Tangaroa had other ideas and the sea went quiet leaving contestants to patiently wait for any offering the ocean would provide. Eventually a small set came through, offering Quill, Fisher and Collins all back-up scores, while poor Joe Kelly sat out the back lonely, waiting for his one that would never come. Collins got the better of the 2nd exchange, but as the clock ticked down, it wasn’t enough… Club President – Ilan Fisher, with his fireworks at the start had taken the well-deserved title of ‘King of the Corner’. Tim Collins finished 2nd and lost his beloved carpark of the previous four years to the King, Dan Quill came 3rd and Joe Kelly placed 4th.
With the comp wrapped up, the festivities began, while workers quietly paved the King’s new car park.
All results are here:
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And lastly thanks to all our generous sponsors