Pāpāmoa surfer Levi Stewart may not have scored the win he wanted at Pāpāmoa's Barrett Homes Surf Open but having some on the water rivalry with "childhood hero" Maz Quinn has made for a memorable competition.
Stewart, competing in the Open Men's division, came a close second to Kiwi surfing legend Quinn after two days of competition on Saturday and Sunday.
Quinn looked comfortable for the entire 30-minute final picking off only the best waves to post a 14.5 point heat total.
"The conditions were tough and I sat down there south of the others and even with the priority system I could have sat on my opponents but it kinda went flat for 10 minutes toward the end of the heat which helped me out," Quinn said.
He managed to hold off Stewart and Mount Maunganui's Buck Woods, both of whom had high-scoring seven-point rides in the final but were unable to find good second waves to challenge Quinn. Woods finished in third place ahead of fellow local surfer Alex Dive in fourth.
With a runner up finish, Stewart jumps to second on the national rankings behind new front-runner Taylor Hutchison from Raglan, who finished seventh at the event this weekend.
Stewart said he felt good the whole weekend but was unable to find a final wave to secure a high score, with Quinn finishing the final with a 14.5 and Stewart with 13.75.
"My main kind of goal was just to get the win on the weekend."
However, having secured a second-place spot on the national rankings so early in the season doesn't hurt, he says.
Stewart has looked up to Quinn for 12 years and says when he saw his and other big surfing names on the draw he was excited for a tough competition.
"I don't really look at the draw but I saw all the names and thought it should be a tough weekend."
In the Women's Open division, Whangamata surfer Ella Williams won the title, with Pāpāmoa's Raiha Ensor coming in second. Taranaki surfers Michael Grendon and Jo Moore claimed titles in the longboard divisions.
Stewart leaves for Australia's Boomerang Beach today to compete in the World Qualifying Series between February 20-24. Ensor left New Zealand on Monday for the same competition, where Williams is also competing.
Other local surfers at this week's series includes Tiana-Breeze De Mooij, Elin Tawharu and Kehu Butler.
The 2019 edition of the Barrett Homes Surf Open included Open Men's and Women's Divisions and Men's and Women's Longboard. It was the second of seven events on the New Zealand Surf Series and New Zealand Longboard Tour.
Barrett Home Surf Open results:
Open Women's Division Final:
1st Ella Williams (Whangamata), 11.5; 2nd Raiha Ensor (Mount Maunganui), 8.8; 3rd Gabrielle Paul (Piha), 7.2; 4th Aimee Brown (Great Barrier), 7.65.
Open Men's Division final:
1st Maz Quinn (Gisborne), 14.5; Levi Stewart (Waihī, Beach), 13.75; 3rd Buck Woods (Gisborne), 12.25; 4th Alex Dive (Mount Maunganui), 11.85.
Men's Longboard final:
1st Michael Grendon (Taranaki), 14.0; Hugh Ritchie (Christchurch), 11.25; 3rd Paul Culpan (Auckland), 9.65; 4th Thomas Kibblewhite (Auck), 9.5.
Women's Longboard final:
1st Josephine Moore (Taranaki), 9.0; 2nd Gabi Paul (Piha), 8.45; 3rd Sasha Brownlie (Auck), 7.75; 4th Ann Snyder (Mnt), 5.0.