Traditional wave riding focus of Logger Heads comp
Clean one-metre conditions greeted surfers on March 7 for the second annual Logger Heads surf comp held at Mangawhai Heads.
Early light winds, followed by a mild cross-shore northwest breeze meant fun ‘logging’ conditions for the 36 strong field of surfers from Whangamata, Raglan, Piha, Auckland, Mangawhai, Waihi Beach, and even Japan, France and Indonesia.
Now in its second year, the event focuses on traditional-styled surfing where contestants are only allowed to ride single fin ‘logs’ that are over 9-feet in length with no leash. Hot dogging, Hangin 5 and stylish trimming was the call.
Contest director Tony Baker chose an alternative format for the event, with surfers in the Open Logger division surfing twice (2 rounds of 7 heats) accumulating points based on placings.
Stand out surfers in the early rounds included Sam Cox (Raglan) who made his return to competitive logging in style, whipping drop knee turns and graceful nose-riding.
Stylish surfing was on show from across the field with the likes of Trent Lillis (Auckland), Mark O'Connor (Whangamata), Gilang Dirgantara (Indonesia), Sam Bradford (Pakiri), Mark Hoyle (Orewa) and Anouk Corolluer (France) all showing that tradition is alive and well in the waves of Aotearoa.
In the end the Open Logger field of 28 was whittled down to four: current New Zealand longboard champion Thomas Kibblewhite (Orewa), local Mangawhai shredder Glen Johnson (Mangawhai Heads), Hibiscus Coast style master Rhys Fitt (Orewa) and event organiser Tony Baker (Mangawhai).
The final was a close battle with all four surfers catching some excellent rides. And it was a close battle between Baker and eventual winner Kibblewhite, who claimed victory in the dying minutes of the final surfing a nice, peeling right-hander off Head Rock and stomping a crisp Hang 10.
Logger Heads also played host to the Classic or Old Mal division – pre-1970s longboards without any modifications on display. With 15 surfers in the draw, it came down to a six man final showdown of style and the odd swim to retrieve a lost board.
Sam Cox (Raglan), renowned for his ability on the Old Mal, styled in the final, along with fellow Raglanite Jimmy Oakley. Oakley came close to top honours with a last minute nose ride, and Ryan Heath (Whangamata) put on a similar show, but it was Auckland’s Trent Lillis who showed true class to win the 2015 Old Mal title.
The Wahine division saw multiple NZ shortboard and longboard champ Mischa Davis (Piha) go head-to-head with friends Anouk Corolluer (France/Auckland) and Sunny Yoshida (Raglan).
All three ladies are superb surfers and enjoyed plenty of water time during the day showing off their graceful style. In the final it was Davis who took out top honours.
The Grom division also showcased a handful of young loggers including 11-year-old Nat Fitt from the Orewa Longboard Club. Fitt spent most of the day in the water styling along. In the finals it was the elder Ahren Watene-Jones (Waihi Beach) winning ahead of Fitt in second and Tom Norton (Langs Beach) in third place.
HANG FIVE: Event organizer, Mangawhai’s Tony Baker, almost won the Open Logger section. – PHOTO/MoonwalkerPhotos.com