Throughout her life, Gisborne surfer Saffi Vette was told by her father Andrew that she could be a champion.
Through times when she was lacking in confidence or not getting the results in competitions, her father would always be there to motivate and support her.
In September last year, Andrew died after a long battle with bowel cancer at the age of 52. But while he wasn't on hand to support Vette at the national championships at Piha this week, Vette said his memory drove her to one of the biggest wins of her career.
Vette triumphed in the open women's division, coming out on top of a stacked final, which featured 2020 national champion Ava Henderson, former World Championship athlete Paige Hareb and 2013 junior world champion Ella Williams.
Vette took out the title with a score of 15.9, with Williams in second (15.6), Hareb in third (12.9) and Henderson, who took out the under-16 and under-18 girls' title, in fourth (6.65).
For Vette, it was an emotional win after what had been a tough year.
"Dad sent me a few waves today," she said after the win.
"He always told me I was going to be a world champion; that gave me confidence to know I could go out and win.
"It's pretty tough; with my dad passing and having a bit of a rough year competitively at the start, it's nice to know that he knew I could do it and he knows I just need a few words to push my confidence. This title means so much to me personally."
It was the perfect way to cap off the week after her younger brother, Finn, took out the under-18 boys' title. As well as claiming their individual titles, the two led their Gisborne Boardriders Club to the overall title.
In the open men's field, Billy Stairmand added yet another title to his record-setting collection – with his 2021 title making it eight national championships.
With 2020 winner Elliot Paerata-Reid not competing in the event at his home break, there was going to be a different winner, and Stairmand (16.15) fought off Kehu Butler (15.25), Taylor Hutchinson (15) and Jayden Willoughby (8.7).