When it comes to hanging 10, local Stratford man Michael Grendon has the act perfected.

Michael is headed to France in May, to represent New Zealand in the International Surfing Association (ISA) Longboard World Surfing Championships.

The New Zealand team consists of four competitors, two men and two women. Michael is joined by Aucklanders Paul Culpan and Sasha Nicole Brownlie and Piha local Gabi Paul.

The selection process took place over a series of three contests, with contestants' overall results being the deciding factor.


Michael had a mix of results over the contests, with one first place, one third and one fourth. Michael and Paul received equal points during the selection process, and Michael says he was thrilled to receive the selection phone call.

"I received a call from Lee Ryan, the selector for the world champs, who helped the judges score and the contest director for the long board surfing, that I was selected. I said yes instantly. There is an elegant sense of timing and knowing what the waves are going to let you do."

This isn't Michael's first time on the world stage in the ocean. Originally from South Africa, he says surfing was a family passion.

"My parents surfed, we were always at the beach. My father was a competitive national surfer in South Africa. I started surfing around the age of 4 and have surfed competitively since the 90s."

In 1994, when he was 17, Michael competed in the Pro World Champs in Malibu California, winning the trophy for youngest, highest placed surfer.

"I was a very stoked teenager."

For practice, Michael surfs four times during the weekends, twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday. He also does a lot of running and swimming during the week to keep healthy.

"It is a good healthy sport. Longboarding is a traditional type of surfing where you can ride small and big waves because of the ergonomics of the longboard. You can do a variety of moves on a longboard such as the 'Hang 10'."


Michael says he was overwhelmed when he learned he had been picked to represent New Zealand at the ISA Longboard World Surfing Championships.

"I am thankful to all my family for being so supportive. Especially my wife Janine and my three kids, Erin, Gaby and Asha. I will have to get them nice gifts when I am in France."

He says he is also grateful to all the support he has had from local businesses and sponsors, as well as those who are supporting his fundraising efforts for his trip to France.