Kea Smith leads at the National Surfing Champs

By Eru Paranihi
  • Auckland

Mana wāhine ruled the water today as day four of the National Surfing Championships continued out at Piha. Ngāti Ranginui teenager Kea Smith dominated the waves with excellent results.

The competition took a break from the traditional sized boards in favour of the Longboard which sees the competitors riding waves for a longer duration than their smaller counterparts.

The women were up first in the Longboard division consisting of two heats with the top two riders advancing to the final.

Kea Smith, who is a former champion Under 18 & 16’s champion, was triumphant in her Longboard heat after earlier being knocked out in the Open Women's division. She managed to win her heat of four riders.

“It was good to get out and compete again and get another chance to surf against the girls,” says Smith.

Smith has a great chance of taking out the women's Longboard division at the National Championships and sealed her heat early 

“It was just like a good set wave and it just peeled all the way through. It got me the good score I needed.”

But perhaps one of the highlights of the day came from Tairāwhiti rider and Auckland resident Kiri Binnersley, who is competing for the first time at the National Surfing Championships. During her heat, she showed a bit of innovation and quirkiness by performing a headstand during her ride

“I was always inspired to do a headstand because all the ‘Endless Sumer Boys’ did it. I don’t think I got any points for it, but I felt good doing it and that’s the main thing.”

Despite the random and cheeky manoeuvre, it wasn’t quite enough to propel her into the heat with the Ngāti Porou entertainer settling for third.

More action later today with the finals of the Under 14’s which sees Ngāpuhi youngster Jayden Willoughby in action in the boys, while Natasha Gouldsbury of Te Atiawa features in the girl's decider.