Surfing: Christie carves his way to title

By Ben Kennings


Mount Maunganui surfers enjoyed another successful weekend at the Backdoor GromBash.

Mackenzie Christie surfed to his first-ever victory at national level, winning the premier Under-18 Boys Division on Sunday.

With surf sitting around the 1.5m-2.0m mark all day with next to no wind, the scene was set for an amazing day of surfing that included firsts, double titles for the country's best young surfers.

Christie claimed his victory late in the day, surfing to a 14.0 point total. "Yeah [I'm] so stoked, it's about time I won an event. It is one of my last events in the Under-18 Boys Division so yeah ... it is definitely about time," said Christie.

"The boys were getting such big scores in the lead up to the final but in the final it went a bit dry and I had two decent scores already," he added of his 7.17 and a 6.83 point rides. Christie was the only goofy footer (right foot forward) in the final which gave him a point of difference as he completed tight hooks in the pocket.

The result will give him a confidence boost as he continues his build-up to the World Junior Championships in June.

"This event is one of the last before we head off to the World Junior Champs, so it is good to get a win and in good waves too, probably some of the best I have had in a comp," said Christie. Australasia's top under-14 surfer Kehu Butler is also competing at the world champs in Nicaragua and claimed his second of two titles over the weekend in the Under-16 Boys' Division.

Completely unstoppable all weekend, Butler again posted a phenomenal 16.83 point scoreline in the final, leaving the remaining three surfers requiring a combination of scores to catch him.

The Mount Maunganui surfer earlier won his third event of the year in the Under-14 Boys' Division with other Mount surfers Jonas Tawharu (third) and Taine Craig-Ranga (fourth) performing well.

Mount surfers filled the top four placings in the Under-14 Girls' Division. The youngest of the finalists was 12-year-old Elin Tawharu who surpassed her opponents with a commanding forehand performance. Maaia Reid-Bennett equalled her best result of runner-up for the season, beating Tiana Breeze De Mooij in third and Raiha Ensor in fourth.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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