The 2018 Spray Marks Kaikoura Cold Water Classic
The 2018 Spray Marks Cold Water Classic took place over Queens Birthday weekend at Kaikoura's Meat Works Beach. Record entrants gathered and competed over three days of fierce surfing. The contest fell on the first weekend of winter and definitely earned it's name as the weather hit a weekend high of 12 degrees air temp and 13 degrees ocean temp.
Day 1Day 1 saw the commencement of competition into a welcome swell in the 3-4 foot range. With record numbers officials elected to run two surfing arena's to make sure they had enough daylight to finish the contest in 3 days. The early rounds of the open men's saw competition standout Billy Stairmand post the highest heat score of the day. Stairmand who hails from the left hand point breaks of Raglan was on his maiden voyage to Kaikoura and had to adapt to the colder temperatures, it didn't seem to bother him though as he showed off an impressive backhand attack. The contest officials have to be praised for managing to get through 50 heats across two arena's on day 1 while sitting in freezing cold tents that really do nothing to stop the cold south Island winds from blasting through, well done to Matt McCrory (Head Judge) and his whole team.
Day 2Competitors awoke on day 2 (many sleeping in their cars at the beach) to pumping 2-3 foot peaks at Meat Works Beach. Competition resumed and some of the best surfing of the event was put on display. In the Woman's division Mount Maunganui Surfer Elin Tawharu and Christchurch's Tegan Bishop were stand outs of the day. The later rounds of the Open men's once again saw Billy Stairmand posting big scores but he was also joined by the likes of Dunedin's JC Susan, Piha's Zen Wallis and Kaikoura's own Levi O'Connor. The junior men also showed off their talents surfing to some of the biggest scores of the day. NZ Junior team members Myka Black and Connor McLennan, both from Christchurch were in form showing why they had been selected to represent New Zealand at the World Junior Surfing Champs in California later this year.
Day 3Finals day was greeted with a drop in swell and less than favourable winds as competitors struggled in the cold conditions. The Junior & Open Woman's divisions were dominated by Mount Maunganui's Elin Tawharu winning both in fine form, she was followed up in both events by Chch's Tegan Bishop. The Longboarders found the lumpy beach break conditions difficult but ultimately put on a good show with Piha's Zen Wallis claiming the victory, followed by three Christchurch surfers Hugh Ritchie, William Wallace and Cam Haylock 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively. The Open Men's final was the last of the day to surf and all four finalists found it difficult to catch their two scoring rides. Only 2.6 points separated the third placed Conor McLennan and second placed Local Surfer Levi O’Connor from first placed Stairmand. Unfortunately one of the stand out Surfers of the event JC Susan from Dunedin couldn’t find himself a wave in the final resulting in heat total of 4.5 and a fourth place finish. Ultimately it was Billy Stairmand who put together a heat score of 13.9 out of a possible 20 who took the win. Walking away with $1500 cash and a huge smile on his face. Billy had this to say " So Stoked to explore more of NZ and also take a win along the way. Thanks to all the locals and South Island organisers. That comp was amazing.
Once again a massive Thank you to everyone who gave their time to put this contest together, every year seems to get better and better and we can't wait to get to the next one.
Exit Surf Team Rider ResultsLevi O'Connor - 2nd Open Men's
Tegan Bishop - 2nd Open Woman's, 2nd Junior Woman's
Myka Black - 1st Under 16 Boy's
Josh Thickpenny - 1St Senior Men's
Hugh Ritchie - 2nd Longboard
Jack Wilson - 4th Junior Men's
Dave Lyons - 2nd Grand Master's
Photo: Ben Rees
Surfer: Billy Stairmand