Surfing: Mount's Hewitt makes semifinals at NZ Champs

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Mount Maunganui surfer Matt-Lewis Hewitt made the semifinals of the 2016 Billabong National Surfing Championships in Dunedin.
Mount Maunganui surfer Matt-Lewis Hewitt made the semifinals of the 2016 Billabong National Surfing Championships in Dunedin.

The final eight surfers in the premier Open Men's division have been decided at the 2016 Billabong National Surfing Championships presented by Health 2000 contested at St Clair Beach, Dunedin.

A clean 1m swell built to over 2m in the afternoon with light winds all day long providing perfect conditions for New Zealand's top surfers.

Mount Maunganui surfer Matt-Lewis Hewitt ripping it in Raglan, 2014. Photo/file.
Mount Maunganui surfer Matt-Lewis Hewitt ripping it in Raglan, 2014. Photo/file.

Mount Maunganui's Matt-Lewis Hewitt, who was champion in 2012, won his heat to join Sean Kettle from Taranaki, Gisborne's Maz Quinn, former Mount Maunganui surfer competing out of Dunedin JC Susan and defending champion Billy Stairmand from Raglan in the semifinals.

Quinn won his first title in 1996 and three more in 2000, 2004 and 2006 while Stairmand has also won four. A win from either surfer would see them match the all-time records of Wayne Parkes and Iain Buchanan with five titles each.

Susan, a New Zealand representative, edged out 2014 finalist Alex Dive from Mount Maunganui after Dive was left stranded with a lack of waves.

The age group girls divisions saw stand-out performances from Arataki's Kea Smith who won both of her heats in the under-18 and under-16 girls divisions. Smith was particularly powerful in the under-18s, posting a 15-point heat total, as were her Mount Maunganui mates Elin Tawharu and Tiana Breeze-De Mooij who also advanced to the semifinals in both divisions.

In the under-16 boys, Mount's Kaya Horne won his heat with fellow Mountie William Van der Beek second in his heat. Mount's James Ririnui won his heat in the under-14 boys.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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