Surfing: Christie making waves in Panama

By Kelly Exelby

Mount Maunganui surfer Mackenzie Christie continues to set the pace for Rip Curl New Zealand junior surfing at the world championships in Panama.

Christie was at the forefront of several massive performances to come out of the Kiwi camp at Playa Venao, with his Tauranga Boys' College schoolmate Jordan Griffin also advancing through the only heat he's surfed so far.

A standout on day one, Christie had more success in his round two heat, placing second yesterday to move through to the last 32 surfers in the qualifying round.

Piha's Elliot Paerata-Reid notched up an emphatic win, showing how to surf a perfect heat with two good scores early, which left his opponents pushing hard to catch up and consequently forcing them to make errors.

"I saw a lot of rights before I went out so that is what I targeted and I got that early 5.5-point ride which was good and then I got that left straight after that which bettered my first wave and set me up for the final 15 minutes" said Paerata-Reid, who progressed alongside Australian surfer Jacob Wilcox.

"There is a continual rivalry with the Australians in any sport we play against each other so to beat Jacob today was good. He still did what he had to do and progressed through the heat with me so that is good for him too."

Christie also came up against an Australian opponent in the form of Eli Steele. However it was Christie who progressed behind Will Davey (Great Britain), forcing the Australian surfer into the repecharge rounds.

Earlier in the day Ben Poulter (Raglan) finally got his campaign under way and wasted no time in sending a couple of shots across the bows of the more favoured surfers from the powerhouse nations.

Poulter surfed to a 13.60-point heat total completing a series of big forehand hacks that impressed everyone.

The New Zealand girls also hit the water for the first time with success coming by the way of Ella Williams (Whangamata), Jayda Martin-Fitzharris (Gisborne) and Jasmine Smith (Gisborne), who all placed second in their heats.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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