Back-to-back NZ crown for Hovell
Gisborne's Sean Hovell is the back-to-back New Zealand national SUP (stand-up paddleboard) champion.
Scoring 15.56 from a maximum of 20 points in the first two minutes of the final, Hovell glided to victory by over three points on the final day of the national surfing championships in Westport.
He then finished runner-up in the bodyboarding division with a 9.9 heat total.
Four Gisborne Boardriders Club surfers made finals in the tricky Tauranga Bay conditions, but Hovell was the only one to walk away with a title.
Stella Smith finished second in the women’s SUP division by just one point after making a two-wave total of 10.34. Whangarei’s Billie Scott took back her early lead with just over seven minutes on the clock.
Smith also finished third in the women’s longboard division, with a score of 8.43.
Geordie Sawyer finished a tantalising 0.37 of a point behind the second-placed surfer in the longboard division to finish third with a 9.96 total, but he scored only 6.44 in the junior longboard to finish fourth.
Patrick (Magoo) Braithwaite’s score of 8.93 was enough to give him second place in the over-45 division. He led for the greater part of the heat but was overtaken with two minutes to go.
Last year Gisborne surfers won nine national titles, but seven of them did not travel to defend their titles.
With many of Gisborne’s top surfers not at this year’s nationals, Gisborne Boardriders Club surfing development officer Flo Bub said through Facebook that those who did attend “did Gizzy proud”.