The sun was out to give a perfect day to the 74 surfers who competed in the Ocean Beach Summer Session tournament on Saturday.

The annual event, hosted by the Ocean Beach Boardriders club, is one of Northland's key summer surfing tournaments and has a strong following with seven different age groups to compete in.

The father/son duo of Joe and Dane O'Donnell were winners at both ends of the competition with Dane winning the under 8 mini-grom category and Joel winning his second open title and a $1000 prize from the Bowling Infrastructure Group-sponsored event.

Other categories in the tournament were a women's grade, over 40, junior under 18, longboard and groms under 13.


Seventeen-year-old Max Brunker won his second junior title with a $600 prize and was one of the standouts of the tournament.

"The day was pretty good. I had a couple of close heats but ended up taking it out in the final," he said.

"I felt like I had my best surf in the final, which is always good to finish well."

Brunker had been surfing for 10 years and this was his fourth summer session. He normally skipped this tournament to attend the national surfing competition but the thought of prize money was enough to make him stay.

He said the tournament was great for the younger surfers who could see older ones compete and learn more about surfing.

Laura Griffin impressed as she won the women's title on the weekend. Photo / Erik Dombroski
Laura Griffin impressed as she won the women's title on the weekend. Photo / Erik Dombroski

Club president Mark Pevats said Brunker had surfed well throughout the day and was one to watch for the future.

"He's just really polished but then we have really good surfing in the women's division too, which was taken out by Laura Griffin so it's good to see."

Pevats said he was glad to see so many come out for the event in its ninth edition, which aimed to give local surfers a platform to show their skills.


"It was a really successful day with some great surfing across all the divisions."

He said the younger divisions had brought a lot more interest to the event and the club.

"What we found was that there was a huge gap between all the old guys and the kids who seem to disappear once they leave school.

"By introducing these young divisions and some surf education programmes, we are getting those kids and the parents back."

Pevats said these kinds of events were important because it also taught the children a lot about water safety and environmental awareness.