Last Saturday, an unstoppable Billy Stairmand claimed his third straight national title at the 2016 Billabong National Surfing Championships presented by Health 2000, held at St Clair Beach, Dunedin.
By claiming the title, Billy has equalled the New Zealand record of five titles that is held by Auckland surfers Wayne Parkes and Iain Buchanan. 1987 was the last time a hat-trick of victories has been achieved (Iain Buchanan).
The day got off to a slow start as competitors waited for the building swell. By 10:30am conditions were contestable and the swell increased to 2.0m by the time the premier finals of the event were held late in the afternoon. A variable onshore breeze persisted throughout the day.
Billy went head-to-head with good friend and shaper, Luke Hughes, in the final.
Luke lead early in the 30 minute final but Billy’s ability to lift in the big finals of the National Championships is well known and Saturday was no different. He built his scores first with an 8.77 then a 9.13 and a 9.03 to take the lead leaving his closest opponent, Luke, needing a near perfect 9.58 point ride for victory.
“Starting the year off with a win is always good and to have my name on that trophy with all those amazing surfers like Al Byrne, Wayne Parkes, Iain Buchanan, Maz and Jay Quinn is crazy, I am stoked to win any day but Nationals is always amazing” exclaimed Stairmand.
“Hughesy kept me on my feet at the start, he is my shaper and I couldn’t let him win but he started off with two eight point rides and I knew I had to step it up. The waves just kept on pumping and pumping and I am just so stoked the waves were good for our final and let me have the opportunity to show my best surfing and eventually win” he added.
Billy is heading to Hawaii in the next two weeks to start his international campaign at the Volcom Pipe Masters so to win here this week is a good confidence boost. “I am nervous going over for that event but I have surfed some good waves down here outside of the competition and I am aiming for a good result” said Billy who hopes to meet up with New Zealand’s top ranked surfer Ricardo Christie during the first event of the year.
Billy finished the final with an 18.17 point heat total, Hughes unable to further his 16.40 point heat start but still finishing runner up and producing his career best result.