A change in location didn't minimise the quality of the Logger Heads Five longboard surfing contest at Waipu Cove.

Contest director Tony Baker made a late decision to shift locations from Mangawhai Heads to Waipu Cove because conditions were ideal there.

Sixty surfers competed across five divisions in the fifth edition of the competition, with competitors arriving from Mt Maunganui, Gisborne, Christchurch, Waihi, Auckland, Ruakaka, Orewa, Mangawhai and Waipu.

With the focus on style, and traditional surfing, the contest required surfers to ride boards 9ft (2.74m) or more in length, with no leash and only a single fin. The contest was run across two days, and surfers enjoyed clean 1m swell with light to moderate winds both days.


The Open Logger Division was hotly contested with some exceptional surfing going down in the early rounds. Jordan Griffin (Mt Maunganui) led the charge with young talent such as Tom Mason (Auckland), Guy Thompson (Mt Maunganui) and Rhys Whittaker (Waipu).

In the finals it was a close battle, with all surfers getting some great nose rides and linking together some nice traditional turns. In the end young Matt Newdick (Auckland) took the win.

Baker said it wasn't surprising Newdick took the title. He said the current NZ Under-18 Scholastic Longboard champ "was a standout all weekend, and well deserving of the victory".

The Old Mal Division was equally electric, with some of the best surfing of the entire event taking place on Saturday afternoon. The boards, pre-1970s longboards, are heavy and challenging to surf at the best of times but competitors made it look easy and timeless.

A stand-out performance from start to finish by Mt Maunganui's Jordan Griffin saw him take the victory.

This year entries in the women's division continued to increase, with a slew of lady sliders taking to the waves to show off their style.

Local surfers Deanne Cleary (Waipu Cove) and Robyn Cox (Ruakaka) showed some excellent style in round one, along with Sabine Baumgartner (Gisborne).

In the final it was a close battle between Baumgartner and 2017 winner Nicky Wellington (Auckland), and after a healthy exchange of waves it was Wellington who took her second Logger Heads title.

Another hotly contested division was the Junior Logger. Local Mangawhai surfer Taj Robinson caught some great waves over the weekend along with Joey Cox (Auckland) and last year's winner, Bassie Waldron (Auckland).

In the final it was 13-year-old Natt Fitt (Red Beach) who stole the show. Baker said Fitt continues to impress.

"Fitt has been a regular at the event and it was obvious he's been putting time into his craft, as he showed excellent wave selection and nose-riding skills, taking a well-deserved victory. "

This year saw the inclusion of a Master Division (over 45 years) and it didn't disappoint.

Orewa local and former South African champion Mark Hoyle was impressive but it was Orewa Longboard Club founder Paul Brown who took the spoils.

Baker said he was a fitting winner.

"Brown has been competing for over three decades and spends plenty of time based at Waipu Cove over the summer months," he said.

"It was fitting that he should claim the maiden Logger Heads Masters win."