The brother of Felix Newton, who died in a car accident on Christmas Day 2018, has won a surfing trophy named in his honour.

Seb Newton was named the inaugural winner of the Felix Newton Trophy for riding the best wave at the Cold Water Classic on Sunday.

Senior members of the Wanganui Board Riders, who created the event, judged Newton the winner.

Wanganui Board Riders president Matt Edmonds said it was a really great result.

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"Seb's one of our up-and-comers. He's rapidly becoming one of our better surfers in town and he's only a pup," Edmonds said.

"For Seb to win it with an incredible ride was outstanding."

Felix Newton was 17 when he died after crashing his ute off Victoria Ave's city bridge and into the Whanganui River on December 25 last year.

Ben Englebretsen rides a wave as part of the Wanganui Board Riders Cold Water Classic. Photo / Supplied
Ben Englebretsen rides a wave as part of the Wanganui Board Riders Cold Water Classic. Photo / Supplied

His family approached the board riders asking if they could donate a competition trophy in their son's honour as he was an avid surfer.

Edmonds said that the Cold Water Classic was the perfect fit for it.

"There tends to be more of a whanau approach to the day, where the board riders and their extended family meet down at the beach," he said.

"It's a day not only celebrating the board riders, but Felix and those that have gone before him."

Edmonds remembers Felix surfing from a young age.

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He said he was a beautiful guy with a cheeky smile.

"His father's a surfer, so he was encouraged towards the water, but from an early age he thrived in the water.

"The ocean's not for everybody, but he was into the ocean like a little seal pup. He was very dedicated to chasing waves."

Twenty-seven board riders took to the river, which was surfable thanks to some big swells at 8am on Sunday and then moved on to the North Mole on Morgan St.

Poor weather on Saturday meant that the event was pushed back to Sunday, coincidentally the day that would have been Felix's 18th birthday.

Edmonds said the conditions ended up being perfect.

"They couldn't have been better really after the mess of the weather towards the end of last week.

"The snow melt meant that the water was very fresh and we had challenging conditions, but they were great for riding. It was a bloody great day."