Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Surfing: Huge finale for Mount girls

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Mount Maunganui surfer Elin Tawharu won three medals at the 2016 Billabong National Surfing Championships. Photo / Mark Stevenson
Mount Maunganui surfer Elin Tawharu won three medals at the 2016 Billabong National Surfing Championships. Photo / Mark Stevenson

Mount Maunganui surfers have enjoyed plenty of good times at past Billabong National Surfing Championships but their performances at the 2016 version held at St Clair Beach, Dunedin, were top class.

The teenage female surfers took out the individual honours with Elin Tawharu and Kea Smith contesting three female division finals on Saturday in the open women, under-18 women and under-16 women categories.

It was as much a test of endurance as anything for the pair, who endured a massive day of surfing in 2m swells.

In the open women elite division, Smith - at 15 the youngest to make the final showdown - put up quite a battle before Ella Williams from Whangamata claimed her first national title.

Smith contested three final runs placing runner-up in each, and edged Tawharu into third, with Aucklander Bianca Sansom fourth.

Tawharu, not surprisingly, tired in the open women's final after claiming two age-group titles, with Smith a close second in each. Tawharu's first final was the under-16 division where she defeated Smith, with Zhana Hutchieson (Taranaki) third and Tiana-Breeze De Mooij from Mount Maunganui fourth.

In the under-18 final it was a clean sweep for the Mount, with the same Tawharu and Smith one-two and Raiha Ensor third, with Billie Scott (Whangarei) fourth.

There was plenty of other success for the Mount team.

In the under-16 boys' final, Kaya Horne, now based in Australia, showed his smooth style to take out the title, while Jonas Tawharu was third in the under-18 boys final. Phil Griffin finished second in the over-50 men's final, Peter De Mooij second in the over-55 men's division and Jordan Griffin third in the men's longboard decider.

Host club South Coast Boardriders claimed the club championship over defending champs Bay Boardriders of Mount Maunganui, with Christchurch club North Wai Boardriders third.

In the open men's final Billy Stairmand of Raglan claimed his third straight men's national title. He equalled the NZ record of five titles held by Auckland duo Wayne Parkes and Iain Buchanan, and completed the first hat trick of titles since 1987.

Luke Hughes (Raglan) and Maz Quinn (Gisborne) finished runner-up and third respectively. Former Mount surfer JC Susan, now based in Dunedin, finished fourth. Alexis Poulter of Waihi Beach claimed her second title of the event in the women's longboard after winning the women's stand-up paddleboard event earlier in the week.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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