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Southern win for Vette


Gisborne surfer Saffi Vette won her second major title of the year when she won the open women’s division of the South Island Surfing Championships at St Clair Beach, Dunedin, over the weekend.

She won the open women’s crown at the national championships at Piha in January.

Former Gisborne surfer Reuben Woods also had a big weekend. Now based in Mt Maunganui, Woods was a finalist in the open men’s division, was third in the over-30 men’s final and won the over-40 men’s division.

Taranaki surfer Jarred Hancox, 41, claimed his first win at national level in 20 years. The committed goofy-foot surfer won the open men’s division.

The final day of the event was held in solid 1.5-metre waves with strong northwest winds making life challenging for many of the finalists.

Hancox claimed the win on his last wave ridden in the final, scoring in the excellent range, and over the required 6.78 for victory.

Hancox first competed at a national event in 2001, making the semifinals in his first attempt. He has competed ever since, only bettering that result at home in 2019 with a third-place finish at the Backdoor Pro.

“I set winning a national event as a goal in this January. Instead of focusing on the goal, I focused on what I needed to do to get there, surfing heats as if I am free surfing. It is good to get a win before my surfing goes backward the older I get.”

Hancox pipped Max Marshall (Chch) who, himself, was in line for a maiden victory. Marshall finished in second place, posting a 13.93-point heat total compared with Hancox’s 14.60 points.

Daniel Farr (Tara) was third on 13.03 points ahead of triple finalist Woods in fourth place.

Vette battled her way to a win in the open women’s division, taking out the final with an 11.4-point heat total.

“In the final I found a few little runners and made it on to the inside section to complete my waves,” she said.

“It was quite fat and hard to get to the inside section but I got two decent waves.

“I was nervous going into this event. Watching all the girls at Raglan was eye-opening, it is cool to see how they are surfing. I was just nervous; you never know what is going to happen in comps. But I tried to stay focused and I am stoked to get another win. It gives me confidence going into the final two events of the season.”

Vette took the win over Taranaki surfer and double finalist Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara) who finished with a 9.83 point heat total to continue her good run of form over summer. Double finalist Gabrielle Paul (Piha) was third ahead of Estella Hungerford (Chch), fourth.

The three-day event was hosted by South Coast Boardriders and is sanctioned by Surfing New Zealand and the South Island Surfing Association. The Emerson’s South Island Surfing Championships is the third of seven events on the 2021 New Zealand Surf Series for the men and fourth for the women.

The event is also part of the New Zealand Grom Series and the New Zealand Longboard Series.

Results —

Open men: Jarred Hancox (Tara) 1; Max Marshall (Chch) 2; Daniel Farr (Tara) 3; Reuben Woods (Mnt) 4.

Open women: Saffi Vette (Gis) 1; Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara) 2; Gabrielle Paul (Piha) 3, Estella Hungerford (Chch) 4.

Over-30 men: Sean Peggs (Tai) 1; Jarred Hancox (Tara) 2; Reuben Woods (Mnt) 3; Jai Earnshaw (WC) 4.

Over-40 men: Reuben Woods (Mnt) 1; Felipe Pires (Dun) 2; Luke Murphy (Dun) 3; Lyndon Fairbairn (Dun) 4.

Saffi Vette: A winner at the South Island Surfing Champs. Picture supplied