More than 50 young surfers packed out the first leg of the inaugural Northland clubs junior surf series at Sandy Bay on Sunday.
Fifty-five surfers from across Northland took part in the new initiative, spearheaded by North Coast Boardriders club captain Tia Lord. The four-event series would feature surfers from the north coast club, the Ocean Beach Boardriders club, as well as surfers from the Far North and Mangawhai.
The second leg of the series would continue at Ocean Beach on March 31. It was the first formal junior surfing club competition in recent memory for Northland's surfing community.
In a healthy 1m swell, it was a great chance for young surfers to compete against a range of competitors, without the pressure and formality which comes in a national competition.
"The response has been really positive so far and hopefully we can keep it going," series organiser Lord said.
"The draw was full on the day so we wouldn't have been able to take any more kids which is a good sign."
Lord didn't know of any formal junior surf series being held in the past and hoped it was a chance for young surfers to interact with members of other clubs.
"They might only surf in their own bay, so this is an opportunity to make friendships around Northland, then when they go away to other competitions, they know other kids and have more confidence.
"It's not meant to be as big as a national event, it's purely grassroots and giving these kids opportunities where we can and making sure they have fun."
Lord, who was born in Sandy Bay, suffered a severe injury about two years ago where she crushed her ankle. After undergoing two surgeries, Lord is making her way back to the surfboard slowly, but was able to put her free time to use, planning the series.
A number of Northland's best young surfers were on show on Sunday. Lord said North Coast Boardriders member Ezra Donaldson was great to watch as well as some brave under-12 competitors.
"The under-12 girls did really well because the swell was quite big when they went out for their final so I was pretty proud of them."
Lord said these events were great to showcase the talented surfers up and down Northland without having extensive travel to compete.
"I saw all these kids in Northland who were surfing really well and had the potential to do really well and obviously the drive to, but there isn't a lot for them up here.
"Some kids travel all the way down to Taranaki with their parents and book accommodation, just to get knocked out in the first round, so it's just trying to plug that gap."
She was confident the momentum would carry on for the second leg as she felt the Ocean Beach club had a strong membership and was experienced in running competitions.
The third series leg takes place in Ahipara on April 14 before the final leg in Mangawhai on April 28. Registrations for the second leg were not open yet but updates would be announced on the North Coast Boardriders Facebook page.
Under 12 girls:
1st Indi-Lee Ruddell (North Coast Boardriders)
2nd Tahlia Da Silva (NCB)
Under 12 Boys:
1st Kauai Rahui (NCB)
2nd Ezra Donaldson (NCB)
3rd Tazmin Walden (Far North)
4th Oska Robinson (FN)
1st Charlotte Taylor (NCB)
2nd Trinity Smith (Mangawhai)
3rd Saorise O'Brien (Ocean Beach Boardriders)
4th Jordan Whimp (NCB)
Under 14 boys:
1st Izaack Hayes (OB)
2nd Campbell Mosely (NCB)
3rd Cooper Ashill (OB)
4th Tai Erceg- Gray (NCB)
Under 16 boys:
1st Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (NCB)
2nd Arie D'Anvers (OB)
3rd Jacob Buckle (NCB)
4th Liam Reynolds (NCB)
Under 18 boys:
1st Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (NCB)
2nd Jacob Buckle (NCB)
3rd Aiden Hayes (OB)
4th Billy Gilbert (NCB)