19th Annual Lifeguard Longboard Nationals 2011
Dean Storey Head Stand.
TC Atu delivers longboard gold for 19th Annual Lifeguard Longboard competition
On Saturday 26th February over 45 lifeguards from all over the country and overseas converged on Mangawhai Heads for the 19th Annual Lifeguard Longboard Nationals surfing contest. Surfers were treated to the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Atu with clean 1.0m-1.5m waves feathered by perfect offshore winds. Lifeguards from Waipu Cove, North Piha, Karekare,Omaha, Muriwai, Mangawhai Heads and California competed in the event.
2011 Lifeguard Longboard Nationals - Line Up.
The Women's Division was an all Mangawhai affair with Kelly Baker (MHVLS) being the oldest of a young bunch of Mangawhai surfers. It has been great over the summer months to see the growth in female surfing in the area and it was evident in the quality of this final. Alana Thrasyvoulou (MHVLS) picked off some great waves in the final but it was young Robyn Turnbull (MHVLS) who showed her dominance and favour at her home break to win the division. Turnbull, who is also a strong competitor in Northland's Triathlon series, enjoyed the fun waves on offer and it showed.
Robyn Turnbull - MHVLS - Womens Division Winner.
One of the more special parts of the event is the Classic Longboard Division. The rules state that for a board to be considered a "Classic" they must have been made pre-1970 and have had no modifications made to the board. It was also specified that surfers must not wear a leash while competing in this division. The waves on offer for the Classic were near perfect and surfers such as Tai Flavell (MHVLS) and Dean Storey (MHVLS) put on a spectacle of classic traditional "log" riding. Storey (MHVLS) who had returned from Sydney for the event pulled out his trademark "head stand", a real crowd pleaser. But it was local shredder Dane Leadbetter riding a vintage Rodney Davidson board (circa 1960) that stole the show with long nose rides and smooth cross stepping. Leadbetter was stoked on his win and proud to add his name to the long list of past winners in this division.
Dane Leadbetter - MHVLS - Classic Division Winner.
The Masters Division (Over 45yrs) was also another great spectacle for the crowds that had gathered to watch the event. John Skirrow (Muriwai SLSC) who is a regular at the event enjoyed the change in scenery from his home break of Maori Bay and surfed some great waves. Last year's winner Graham Darlow (MHVLS) also enjoyed the warm, summer waves on offer. Other surfers who stood out in the division were John Minogue (MHVLS) and Chris Thrasyvoulou (MHVLS). Division winner Murray Dix (MHVLS) who surfed the entire Tropical Cyclone Atu swell from start to finish relished in the clean left handers breaking in the final.
Murray Dix - MHVLS - Masters Division Winner.
In the Juniors Division (Under 18yrs) there was a 10 strong field of Under 18yr surfers from Waipu Cove, Muriwai, United North Piha and Mangawhai Heads. Brad Kehoe (MHVLS) surfed well in his heats showing some good local knowledge, along with fellow Mangawhai surfer Brendan Laagemaat (MHVLS). Other surfers included Waipu SLSC team mates Jake Moffat and Fraser Coutts who are no strangers to Mangawhai as they have both competed in Jackman Classic, a 12km paddle race from Waipu Cove to Mangawhai Heads held annually since 2009. New face Damien Tafu (United North Piha SLSC) who has been staying in Waipu Cove all summer showed a real traditional approach towards longboarding and was a stand out all day, placing second. However, it was reigning champion Ari Tidyman (MHVLS) who picked off all the best waves to win in 2011.
Tony Baker - MHVLS - Open Division Winner.
The highly competitive Open Division relished in the near perfect waves on offer throughout the day. Ben Chapman (Waipu Cove SLSC) was a new entry to the event and brought a real progressive flavour to the event linking fast turns with powerful lip smashes, surfing into the semi-finals. Joe Moohan (Karekare SLSC) who regularly attends the event with his father Mike was another solid entry in the division but was unlucky not to make the finals. Last years runner up Zane Baker (MHVLS) also showed good form throughout the event. In the final Neil McInnes(MHVLS) and Dane Leadbetter both picked off some long peeling waves linking stylish nose rides with on rail turns, but it was 2010 winner Tony Baker (MHVLS) who impressed the judges picking off the best waves in the final. Baker, who has now won the event 4 times, dedicated his win to the Earthquake stricken Christchurch. "It's been a hard week for the whole of New Zealand, especially all my good friends from the Sumner Longboarders and to Dale and Rewa and all the Stuthridge family. We have been thinking of you all in this time of extreme loss" he said.
Event organisers would like to thank the following local businesses for their ongoing support and sponsorship of the event: Graham Darlow from Fletcher Construction, BAMMAS Surf Store, Jess Costello from Kakariki the Health Store, Meizu NZ, Mangawhai Tackle, Mangawhai Electrical, Mangawhai Chemist and Chris McGillivray
Lifeguard Longboard 2011 - Division Winners (L-R) Dane Leadbetter , Tony Baker , Ari Tidyman, Murray Dix.
2012 will see the 20th Anniversary of the event and organisers are looking forward to celebrating such an iconic surfing event at Mangawhai Heads.
Photo Credits - Open Division - Ari Tidyman / Louie Smith , All others - Tony Baker , Line up - Tidyman family
Tony Baker // Club Captain
Mangawhai Heads Volunteer Lifeguard Service Inc.
SERVICE - VIGILANCE - ENDURANCE