All-star line-up for longboard event
It was an all-star line-up for the 7th annual Logger Heads event held at Waipu Cove on March 7. With over 55 entries across five divisions, Logger Heads 7 featured some of NZ's best traditional surfers including numerous past and present NZ champions.
A traditional surfing contest, competitors ride old-school long boards or ‘logs’ with only a single fin and no leash. Judging focuses on traditional moves such as nose rides, Hang 5s and Hang 10s, along with trim, glide and style.
Waipu Cove served up 1.0-1.5m swell with moderate onshore winds.
The Open Logger division featured a 36 man draw including numerous past and present NZ log champs. Early stand-outs included Glen Johnson (Mangawhai), Sam Guthrie and Shaun Mannion, along with some dazzling and creative surfing from Auckland's Ollie Le Noel. In the finals it was Jordan Griffin (Mount Maunganui) who dominated from the start, selecting the best waves and stamping his mark early.
This year saw the largest field of women's surfers with 16 lady sliders. The pool also included Willow McBride, and Jay Ryan-Emmere, both second generation loggers, and last year’s winner Nicky Wellington (Waihi). But it was the North Coast Boardriders duo of Lou Aitken (Auckland) and Wini Paul (Sandy Bay) who dominated the challenging conditions, with Wini Paul taking a maiden victory with a display of traditional style and grace.
The Junior Logger division was as hotly contested as ever, with half a dozen of NZ's best juniors battling it out through the early heats. Local Billy Whelan showed good form in the early rounds as did Geordie Sawyer. But in the final it was Nat Fitt (Red Beach), the current NZ under 18 longboard champion, continued his dominance backing up a 3rd consecutive win at the event.
After a two year hiatus from the Logger Heads event Gisborne’s Trent Lillis returned to this year’s event with his timeless style and prowess on the Old Mal taking a third win. The art of riding 50-year-old heavy boards was put through its paces in the tough conditions, but the level of surfing was as good as it gets.
This year saw the inaugural Noserider division included in the competition. Normally set aside for the long point waves of Noosa and Malibu, the format was modified to suit the conditions on offer with only completed nose rides being scored. Trent Lillis nailed the best nose ride of early rounds. Ollie Le Noel (Auckland) dazzled the crowd and judges with his creative approach towards nose riding, but it was Dylan Barnfield (Ohope) who blitzed his rivals in the final, linking together some of the most critical nose rides of the day. Barnfield, a former NZ national longboarding champ, blazed every wave that came his way, winning with style.
This year's event also showcased an excellent team vibe with a strong contingent from Gisborne, Bay of Plenty, Northland and Auckland. It was also the year of the family with a father-daughter and mother-daughter combination taking to the waves.
Close to the edge, former NZ longboarding champ Dylan Barnfield blitzed the field in the noseriding comp. PHOTOS/PHOTO CPL