Local surfer Billy Stairmand battled to his second national surfing title after a near flawless performance in the final of the Open Men’s Division at the 2012 Hyundai National Surfing Championships held at Piha Beach this past weekend.
The young 22 year old is ranked 79th in the world and is New Zealand’s third highest ranked surfer on the international circuit. Billy starts 2012 on another high after beating 11-time world champion Kelly Slater in 2011.
Billy notched up several excellent scores in quick succession in the final, his two highest, 8.90 and 8.20 point rides, using his impeccable backhand surfing on the lefthanders of Piha Bar.
“It’s a good to start to the year winning a national title, I’m going overseas soon so it’s good for my confidence and everything like that but yeah, at the moment, a national title, I can’t believe it” said Billy.
“Every heat is hard, I just wanted to catch the best waves out there, I saw some on the bar and wanted to get them and it paid off.”
It was a big decision for Billy to surf up the beach. He and fellow finalist Chris Malone (Gis) were the first surfers of the day to do so. However, with the outgoing tide and building swell, the strategy paid off handsomely.
“I was going wave for wave with Chris and I knew Timmy was down the beach but I was feeling confident after the first wave and yeah it all just happened.”
35 year old Chris Malone (Gis) finished runner up in the final scoring 9.5 out of 20 points requiring a combination of waves to challenge Billy for the win.
Despite the distance between himself and Billy he was still stoked to make the final. “It shows me that I have still got it and still can do it” said a more than happy Chris.
Mount Maunganui surfer Tim O’Connor who is currently based in Raglan placed third in the final. He surfed the whole 25 minutes on his own at the north end of the beach where every other surfer had competed during the day but the waves simply did not cooperate.
Over in other divisions, Poulter brothers, Ben and Sam, took the top two spots in the U18 Longboard final. It was older brother Ben who claimed the title, the two brothers defeating local Piha surfers Tane Wallis and Tunui Wano during the final heats.
Older sister Alexis Poulter also did well in the Women’s longboard division placing second ahead of past favourites Mischa Davis (3rd) and Belinda Goodwin (4th).
All-round waterman Daniel Kereopa just missed out on a Stand-Up Paddleboard national title, placing second behind Shayne Baxter of Christchurch.
Raglan also had strong representation in the older divisions with Geoff Hutchison taking out the Grand Masters title (Over 45s), Jeremy Hughes coming second in the Legends (Over 50s) and Deane Hishon coming third in the Veterans (Over 40s).
The next event on the Hyundai Surf Tour 2012 will be held at Sandy Bay from the 3rd to 6th of February.