New wave of Māori surfers carving up competition

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes
  • North Island: East Coast

Young Māori surfers are making waves in the National Scholastic Surfing Championships at Makarori in Gisborne.

Myka Black of Tainui says, “Yeah it was good, waves are pumping, really stoked, gives me heaps of confidence and hopefully I can carry on through to the next round.”

NZU16 and Waitaha representative, Black achieved the highest heat score of the competition with one judge awarding him a perfect 10 for one of his waves.

“There are heaps of good surfers in my division and everyone is all on the same level and it's going to be pretty hard from the quarters and semis into the final.  It's anyone's game out there really,” says Black.

NZU16 and Waikato representative Kora Cooper (Ngai Tai) is just 14 and surfing above his age group.  Despite his age, the Raglan-based surfer was right at home in waves up to five feet high.

“It's quite good.  There are nice banks, I'm quite used to the rocks because at Manu Bay there are rock point breaks, so yeah, it's a nice wave.”

Aotearoa surfing legend and coach Daniel Kereopa says, “You can only win so much at U14's so he's getting an extra year of experience competing against the U16 boys and they're bigger, stronger, faster so it's a test for him to be able to keep up with them and so far he's doing well.”

Kereopa says that after a lull, competitive Māori surfing is back on the rise.

“It's great to see our Māori people and Māori faces in the water, not only participating but actually doing really well and also being chosen to be in the NZ teams.”

The boys and girls finals take place tomorrow.