Thomas Kibblewhite has made the best possible start to the 2012 Hyundai Tour convincingly winning the first event completed at Manu Bay, Raglan on Sunday 8th January.
Kibblewhite posted 16.07 out of a possible 20 points in a wave starved final and claimed the edge over his opponents early on the five event tour.
The surf remained in perfect condition for the final day with the forecast gale force winds not eventuating, leaving a groomed ocean and a 1.0m swell.
Mischa Davis (Piha) took the honours in the Women’s Longboard Division. “It feels pretty good to come home and win” Davis said. “I love surfing Raglan, I am a goofy footer so I feel at home here”. Alexis Poulter (Raglan) placed second in the final and scoring 10.90 with Shelley Jones (Auck) in third and Anna Jolly (Piha) in fourth.
Nic Jones led the Under 18 Boys Final from the outset after posting a 9.0 point ride on his first wave ridden. The smooth young surfer from the Sunshine Coast was a standout in all events after also posting a fifth placing in the Open Men’s Division. He finished the final with a 17.67 point heat total to surpass the Poulter brothers Ben and Sam who finished second and third respectively.
Defending Over 40 Men’s Champion Brian Young (Orewa) got his year off to the best start by winning the first event. Young eased to victory scoring a 14.83 point heat total in the final with 8.83 and 6.0 point rides. Young left his three opponents to battle out a closer fought race for the minor placings. Mount Maunganui’s Mal Brady clinched runner up ahead of Steve Tyro (Rag) and Guy Rencher (Mnt).
Michael Thomson was never going to let a national event slip by his home break without putting in a performance that only a local could. He sealed the win via his last wave sharply surfed for a 7.17 to finish with a 13.50 point heat total. Mark Hoyle (Orewa) surfed to his best ever result at a national level, placing second in the final. Hoyle had looked the in-form surfer all event but was not quite a match for Thomson in the final, finishing with an 11.60 point heat total.
Daniel Kereopa had only one result in mind for the Stand Up Paddleboard Division and that was first place in front of his family and friends. “Oh I think competing at home is tougher for me and local boys but I wasn’t thinking of any other result than first. I had to win this weekend no matter what” Kereopa said.
Like many other finals, the win came down to getting a good start to the final and Kereopa used his knowledge of the break to put pressure on his opponents who ultimately left him alone to get the pick of the waves. “I put the pressure on early and it paid off” added Kereopa.
The ‘King of the Waves’ paddle race saw 24 paddlers take to the water completing a 3.0km course from the boat ramp at Manu Bay out into the bay and back around past the break then in through the waves. The lead changed several times as the paddlers navigated the waves with limited success on their boards that are tailored to distance racing.
Defending Hyundai Tour paddle race champion Armie Armstrong (Rag) surged into the lead after the first two legs but with the last pass through the waves came unstuck allowing Warwick Grey (Waihi Beach) to fly past surfing a wave down to the boat ramp and then complete the 100m dash back through the car park. Jeremy Stephenson (Auck) finished in second place with Armstrong in fourth.