A third consecutive win in the New Zealand Pro Series has seen Whangamata surfer Grace Spiers open up a big lead after her victory in the Open Women's Division at Manu Bay, Raglan, last Saturday.
Spiers first won the National Championships at Gisborne in January before winning the second event at Whangamata in February, and Saturday's Rip Curl Pro.
"Those were some of the most difficult conditions to compete in, you could hardly walk down the rocks, let alone surf. On the waves it was hard to stay low and you couldn't even hit the top of the wave. A bit different for the boys who have a bit more weight, but definitely hard for us girls," Spiers said.
"Winning three events in a row is pretty amazing. I guess I have been relaxed about competing all summer and it has been good fun. I figure I have had less pressure on me, or put less pressure on myself, and it has worked."
Second in the final was Jasmine Smith (Gis) who fought her way into runner-up position over Jessica Santorik (Rag), who finished in third place but held down second for much of the final.
Richard Christie broke a five-year drought for a win in the Open Men's Division, surfing his way to top score in the 1.0m-1.5m waves.
Second in the closely-fought final was Matt Hewitt (Mnt) who finished with an 11.50 point heat total.
Hewitt was left chasing a 6.51 point ride for the win, which would have also broken a drought for the young surfer who has not won a domestic surfing event since his breakthrough win at the 2009 National Championships.
Double finalist and weekend standout Elliot Paerata-Reid finished the final in fourth place after surfing his sixth heat of the day.
The New Zealand Junior Surfing team member was a dominant force on final day of the event. In the Under-20 Men's Division he opened up with two nine-point rides in the first half of the 25-minute final, leaving his opponents stranded and requiring two scoring rides to catch him. His 18.17 point heat total was the highest of the day.
Second in the final was Tane Wallis (Piha), who finished with a 15.23 point heat total, retaining his number one ranking on the New Zealand Grom Series rankings.
Third was Ben Poulter (Rag), the only surfer not in a combination situation after posting an 8.27 midway through the final.