Young Tairua surfer Sean Peggs has walked away with the best 23rd birthday present after claiming the Rip Curl Pro title at Ruapuke Beach south of Raglan on Sunday.
For a third straight day the event relocated to Ruapuke with the northeast wind proving too strong for any decent waves at the primary venue of Manu Bay. However, Ruapuke was again pumping with a solid 1.5m swell groomed by strong offshore winds.
Peggs finished the final with a 15.27 point heat total and led the final for much of the 25 minutes. He appeared to be in sync with all the best set waves. He opened up with a seven point ride before locking in a massive 8.27 point ride for a series of tight backhand re-entries.
“I can’t believe it, winning the Rip Curl Pro on my birthday” said Peggs. “Last time this event fell on my birthday I had a shocker so this makes up for it” he added.
“I was just having fun out there, it was a lot like my home break at Tairua, I was just trying to get some good waves and crank out some big turns.
Peggs takes home $3,000 but also the prestigious prize of the trip to Bali and entry into the Rip Curl Padang Cup, an event that runs for one day but with a month long waiting period and includes some of the best surfers in the world.
“It is such an amazing prize, I have been hanging around that event a couple of times in the past when Bobby Hansen and Morehu Roberts were representing New Zealand and I had such a great time, I am pretty scared of surfing macking Padang though” he added.
Peggs, who is now based in Auckland, is hoping to get time off from his boss to attend the event. “Perhaps if I put a sticker on my board he will let me go over” quipped Peggs.
Placing second today was Maz Quinn (Gis) who scored 14.17. He came up short in the final after blasting through every heat in the lead up.
Sandy Bay surfer Wini Paul won the Open Women’s Division taking her first national win since 2007 when she won the National Championships in Taranaki.
Wini Paul looked sharp all event surfing with power and tight turns in the pocket. Her performance in the final was no different as she surfed to a 15.73 point heat total leaving her opponents requiring massive scores.
“I am so happy, this is the first time I have won a national event since I was a youngster” said Paul.
Local surfer Alexis Poulter placed fourth in the event.