The 2018 Exit Surf Men's Canterbury Champs were held over the weekend 21-22 of April) at the picturesque beach of Gore Bay located an hour and a half north of Christchurch. Close to 100 competitors from all over the country battled it out over two days of fierce competition, looking for their share of $10,000 in Cash prizes.
Day 1 saw clean surf in the 1-2ft range and a full 10 hours of competition. Stand outs from the day were Piha Surfer Zen Wallis and Dunedin surfer Elliot Brown in the Exit Surf open Mens and local surfer Myka Black in the Xcel Wetsuits under 16's.
Day 2/Finals Day saw a jump in the swell and a dip in temperature but the Open competitors still managed to heat things up in the water. Once again Elliot Brown and Zen Wallis were on form progressing through to the Open Final. There they were joined by Dunedin Surfer Josh Thickpenny and Levi O'connor from Kaikoura. The Final saw all four surfers throwing down big scores but it was O'connor who managed the win with a 16.1 point heat total out of a possible 20.
Levi had this to say about the final:
“My strategy was to surf the lefts that were coming through and I got a couple but they ended up being not that good”
“Halfway through the heat, I knew I needed a good wave and this one came through that allowed me to go right. I pulled off an air reverse then hit the end section and it ended up being an excellent wave. After that, I got one more good one and that was enough to win” he added.
It was O’Connor’s first event of the year and he had placed second in all of his heats leading up to the final, his only win coming when it mattered most.
“I felt like I had been surfing good leading into the event and my new board feels really good too. I won the Kaikoura event last year but I am stoked to add this title, it was a fun weekend and the team at North Wai did a great job running the event.”
^^Exit Surf Shop Manager Hugh Ritchie hanging 5 on his way to a second place finish in the Longboard division
We were the principal sponsor for the Canterbury Champs this year and put up a lot of money toward the prize purse of the event. We have always been a proud supporter of grass roots surfing in New Zealand and are absolutely stoked at how the weekend played out. Tristan Bennett (Exit Surf Owner) had this to say about the weekend "We're really happy to be involved in such a great event, big props to the North Wai crew for running such a special event and we can't wait to continue our support next year.
Exit Team Rider Finals results:
Levi O'connor - 1st Open Men's
Myka Black - 1st Under 16 Boys
Josh Thick Penny - 1st Over 30's, 4th Open Men's
Hugh Ritchie - 2nd Longboard
Dave Lyons - 1st Over 45 Men's
The Exit Surf Men’s Canterbury Surfing Championships would not be possible without the support of Exit Surf, Ocean & Earth, Mike Pero Real Estate, Xcel, Pier Lodge, Eruption Brewing, host club North Wai Boardriders and the South Island Surfing Association.