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'Surfing festival'

Largest women's field in a New Zealand longboarding contest.

Makorori First Light Longboard Surfing Classic attracted the biggest field of surfers in its 26-year history including “way more” women than ever before, say organisers.

Thirty-two women entered, making it the largest field for women in a New Zealand longboarding event.

Organiser Sam Gibson said they recognised women's surfing was playing second-string to the men at many other surfing events.

A collective of women who entered had the choice of when they wanted to surf so that they could pick the best conditions of the day, he said.

The competition was moved to Midway's Pipe break, as conditions on the Coast were wild and unruly.

The wind swung onshore halfway through the competition, and with a building swell that grew to well over head height, competitors had to pull out all their tricks to be successful in the tricky conditions, said Gibson.

It was incredible to see surfers perform highly technical manoeuvres with such style and flair and they made it look easy, he said.

“It was pretty amazing . . . the finalists, men and women, made the conditions look good. The finalists were among New Zealand's best.

“A lot of former national champions didn't make finals.”

The day was truly a community event, with everyone chipping in to make the event as good as it could be, he said.

People brought furniture down and created a “little lounge” for those watching, and had guitars and cookers to keep everyone fed and entertained.

“It was a surf festival rather than a competition.”

Results —

Open women: Mika Doolie 1, Nina Young 2, Julie Jakobiski 3, Abi Daunton 4.

Open men: Daryn Mcbride 1, Jordan Griffin 2, Raniera Procter 3, Dylan Barnfield 4.

Over-40s women: Sasha Brownlie 1, Sabine Baumgartner 2, Malia Payea-Taylor 3, Pam Davies 4.

Over-40s men: Karl Johansen 1, Tunis Harrison 2, Robert Counsell 3, Euan Nelson 4, Fabio Geronazzo 5, Steve King 6.

Over-50s: Scott Pitketheley 1, Mark O'Connor 2, Sam Mottart 3, James Atutahi 4.

Over-60s: Mickey T 1, Mike Yukich 2, Bruce Cowper 3, Ben Hutchings 4.

Soul surfer award: Michael Holmquist.

Family Trophy: Clayton Gibson and Hami Gibson.

Spot prize (surfboard): Melita Raravula.

FANCY FOOTWORK: Mikaela Davies (aka Mika Doolie) does some hot-stepping with her board and a Midway wave her dance floor at the Makorori First Light Longboard Surfing Classic. Pictures by Paul Rickard
Blake Barnfield in action.
Dan Hooker also in action.
Open men’s finalist Dylan Barnfield was among the many who converged on Midway’s Pipe break on Saturday for the 26th Makorori First Light Longboarding Surf Classic. The event — the oldest longboarding contest in the country — attracted its largest-ever field, including an excellent response from female surfers. It was changed from Makorori to Midway because of conditions. While it is a contest and there are winners, organisers have always stressed it is more like a festival and the communtity atmosphere underlined this.
Jordan Griffin.
Grace Gillan.