After a week's postponement due to poor conditions, the annual Whanganui Boardriders competition took place under pretty challenging conditions. The wave at Morgan Street was lumpy and elusive.
But competition delays could be a thing of the past.
An unexpected upside of Te Pūwaha reinstatement works of the north and south moles at the Whanganui River mouth will mean the return of the Tanae Bank, fabled as one of the most consistent surf breaks in the country. Remnants of the original man-made structure are still visible and there's an occasional surfable wave there, only in a heavy southwest swell.
Originally designed in 1857 by English river engineers to act as a wave buffer for boats moored in the port, the byproduct of the bank was a consistent surf break just inside the river mouth.
Whanganui Boardriders president Steve Fulton says it will create a safer channel for boating and other marine activities.
"It's going to create a lot deeper channel, it's going to take all the silt off the bottom and it's going to create a nice sandbank on the other side," he said. "Which is going to create a nice surf break for us as well.
"As long as you've got swell it won't even matter which way the wind is actually blowing in there because the moles protect it. And it'll be all tides I'd say, once the bank really builds up."
The Boardriders' men's open winner, Jordan Covney, grew up surfing at Morgan Street and holds the Felix Newton Memorial trophy for the winter Cold Water Classic. He has had his eyes on this prize for years.
"I've tried for four years to try and get this trophy," Covney said.
Despite surfing's increasing popularity, heavy west coast swell means Whanganui Boardriders enjoy relatively crowd-free waves. Covney reckons anywhere between 15 and 20 people in the water is a crowd in Whanganui.
Winners of the Whanganui Boardriders Annual Trophy Competition:
Juniors: Alex Palazzo.
Bodyboard: Joff Monopoli.
Masters: Steve Fulton.
Open: Jordan Covney
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