Whangarei surfer Thomas Robinson claimed his first national level win this weekend taking out the Sticky Johnson Primary School Championships run by the Eastland Community Trust. Robinson was joined by Mount Maunganui surfer Georgia Wederall, who was victorious in the girls division.
A return to the more familiar surrounds of the northern end of Makorori Beach saw the grommets greeted with a solid 1m swell and light onshore winds.
Robinson was the lone goofy-foot surfer in the final but used that to his advantage setting himself apart from his opponents with some exceptional backhand surfing both in the final and the earlier round-robin heats.
Robinson finished with a 9.83 point heat total to claim victory over event standouts Tom Butland (Taranaki) and Finn Johnson (Gisborne), who had both been undefeated until that point. Butland got the nod over Johnson, posting an 8.4 point heat total for a runner-up finish with James Ririnui (Mount Maunganui) finishing fourth.
Earlier, it was Butland and Ririnui who eliminated Manawa Ruru (Gisborne) and Myka Black (Christchurch) in the first semifinal while Robinson and Johnson defeated Cory Vercoe (Mangawhai) and Maddy Barclay (Oamaru).
After the last of three preliminary rounds in the early afternoon, eight surfers were locked on 18 points with only the last two qualifying spots going to Cory Vercoe and James Ririnui by way of their superior combined scores. The closeness of the round-robin format proved there were double the number of qualifiers who could easily have filled the top eight.
Wederall claimed her third straight win in the girls division to make it a clean sweep of victories over Levin surfer Natasha Goldsbury. Wederall recently relocated from Christchurch to Mount Maunganui and has immersed herself among the wealth of female talent in the region.
A good number of the groms headed to the GromLab Surfer Development Camp.
The four-day camp will enable some of New Zealand's young surfers to sample what the region has to offer in terms of waves, while under the guidance of the region's top coaches.
The competition focus now switches to the Eastland Community Trust National Scholastic Surfing Championships, which runs for five days.
The Scholastic champs will play host to 100 secondary school students from 12 regions nationwide.