Surfing: Local knowledge wins day

By Cameron Leslie

The locals cleaned up in the Lifeguard Longboard Nationals at Mangawhai, taking out the women's and junior divisions.

With over 50 entries received from nine clubs nationwide, the 21st instalment of the longboard event went down in style with clean 1-1.5m waves.

Surfers from Muriwai, Omaha, Whangamata, Bethells Beach, Karekare, Mairangi Bay, Wainui and California turned out for this month's nationals where locals Jess Costello and Mitch McRae defended their 2012 titles.

Contest director Tony Baker said this year's competition had attracted numbers from outside the region which is what they were after.

Baker added they had got lucky with the weather and waves as both turned out for the visitors.

Costello, of Mangawhai Heads VLS, backed up her 2012 victory by taking out the women's division, using her local knowledge in the final to pick off one of the biggest waves.

Double finalist Brenna Bishop, of Karekare, also put on a good show placing third behind local surfer Alana Thrasyvoulou.

It was a similar affair in the juniors with Te Arai surfer McRae, also of Mangawhai Heads VLS, picked up his second consecutive junior title.

With a strong focus on traditional longboarding, including nose rides and fancy footwork, the draw took over nine hours to complete.

Paul Steinberg, of Santa Cruz, USA, stole the show in both the open men's and classic divisions with some stylish traditional surfing.

Steinberg, who came to New Zealand as part of the California Lifeguard Exchange, rode an old Peter Way board that was made circa 1960 in both divisions and linked a number of long, critical nose rides with switch foot and soul arch turns.

Other stand-out surfers in the Open included local Neil McInnes with his polished forehand and Whangamata styler Andrew Earl-Peacock.

Auckland's Dave Sneyd claimed his maiden victory in the master's division, and the smooth natural footer was a popular victor in the division.

Lifeguard Longboard Nationals:

Open: Steinberg, USA, 1; McInnes, Mangawhai Heads, 2; Andrew Ear-Peacock, Whangamata, 3; Toby Gibb, Mangawhai Heads, 4.

Classic: Steinberg, USA, 1; Tai Flavell, Mangawhai Heads, 2; Andrew Ear-Peacock, Whangamata, 3.

Women's: Costello, Mangawhai Heads, 1; Alana Thrasyvoulou, Mangawhai Heads, 2; Brenna Bishop, Bethells Beach, 3.

Juniors: McRae, Mangawhai Heads, 1; Brenna Bishop, Bethells Beach, 2; Daniel Hessell, Mangawhai Heads, 3.

Masters: Sneyd, Auckland, 1; Steve Jones, Omaha, 2; Graham Darlow, Mangawhai Heads, 3; Bob McDonald, 4.

- Northern Advocate

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