The New Zealand Open SUP and Longboard event was run at Mt Maunganui over the weekend with five surfers from the Gisborne Boardriders Club making it to the event. Waves for the event were a reasonably contestable 1-2 feet and clean on day one and slightly larger on Sunday but very wind affected.
Gisborne’s most notable performance came from 14 year old Stella Smith (GBC) who totally dominated the Open Women’s SUP division winning with a total heat score of 16.30.
The other three finalists required a combination of scores to have a shot at the title. This big win comes hot on the heels of Smith’s NZ National Open Women’s SUP title she won at Piha in January.
There were no Junior events on offer in any division over the weekend so that left her competing in the Open Women’s SUP Smith’s only option.
Smith bagged more than a handful of prizes from Barrett Homes, the major sponsor of the event including a $50.00 bottle of Makaraka Reserve Pinot Noir wine of Chile.
Marguerite Vujcich (GBC) of Hawkes Bay travels to attend all Gisborne Boardriders events made the trip through to Mt Maunganui and competed in two divisions. Vujcich entered in the over 50 Longboard division where she competed with the men. Vujcich was unfortunately bundled out early in this event. Vujcich made up for the age group loss by making the Open Women’s Longboard final where she placed 4th.
Stella Smith’s father Gary Smith (GBC) competed in the Open Men’s SUP but was unfortunately out classed in round one finishing 3rd in his heat.
Fifteen year old Brie Ryan (GBC) was another junior competing in the Open Men’s Longboard division and was able to gather some valuable experience surfing against New Zealand’s top Longboarders. He performed well and was poised to progress through Round One in second place but within the final minute dropped to 3rd and was eliminated in round one.
Gisborne’s Development Manager Kelly Ryan was present and entered the Open Logger Division where competitors are only allowed to ride heavy single fin Longboards shaped in the traditional 1960’s style.
Ryan placed third overall and was pleased with the way Gisborne performed.
“To have three out of five surfers make finals today is really encouraging. I know there are a lot of talented SUP and Longboard surfers locally who could have shaken things up over at the Mt, so it would be great to see a few more making the effort. Stella Smith has really put Gisborne, Women’s SUP and the sport of SUP on the map lately with her rise in performance and she is also dominant in other areas of surfing and Surflifesaving. I see a great future in kids who are multi talented board riders as I believe that’s where the sport will grow the most in the very near future.”
Look out from April 1st-9th when The Ultimate Waterman NZ begins here. The whole event is mobile and could end up right here in Gisborne especially given our wave quality at that time of year. The Ultimate Waterman is an event that combines a multitude of water craft including Longboard, Shortboard and SUP as local, national and international competitors vie for the Title of Ultimate Waterman NZ.