Logger Heads sees summer vibes and stylish surfing
The Logger Heads 5 traditional longboard surfing event went off in style at alternative venue Waipu Cove over the Auckland Anniversary Weekend.
Contest director Tony Baker made a late call to shift from Mangawhai Heads to Waipu due to swell and wind conditions.
Now in its 5th year, 2018 saw nearly 60 competitors across five divisions travel from Mount Maunganui, Gisborne, Christchurch, Waihi, Auckland and closer to home to compete.
With the focus on style and traditional surfing, the contest required surfers to ride boards 9ft-plus in length, with no leash and only a single fin. The contest was run across two days and surfers enjoyed clean one metre swell with light to moderate winds.
The Open Logger Division was hotly contested with some exceptional surfing going down in the early rounds. Jordan Griffin (Mount Maunganui) lead the charge along with a bevvy of young talent including Tom Mason (Auckland), Matt Newdick (Auckland), Guy Thompson (Mount Maunganui) and Rhys Whittaker (Waipu). Former Single Fin Mingle winner Nic Todd (Christchurch) also made a strong impression, along with local shredder Glen Johnson (Mangawhai) and Auckland style master Paul Culpan (Auckland).
In the end it was young Matt Newdick (Auckland) taking the win. Newdick, who is the current NZ Under 18 Scholastic Longboard Champ, was a standout all weekend, and well deserving of the victory.
The Old Mal Division was equally as electric in nature, with some of the best surfing of the entire event taking place on Saturday afternoon. The boards, which are pre-1970s longboards, are heavy and challenging to surf at the best of times, but competitors made it look easy and timeless.
A stand-out performance from start to finish by Mount Maunganui's Jordan Griffin saw him take the victory.
Runner Up Paul Culpan (Auckland) also showed style and precision in the heats, along with Matt Newdick (Auckland) and Guy Edge (Gisborne).
This year saw an ever-increasing number of entries in the Women's Division, with a bevvy of lady sliders taking to the waves to show off their style. Local surfers Deanne Cleary (Waipu Cove) and Robyn Cox (Ruakaka) showed some excellent style in round one, along with Sabine "Beans" Baumgartner (Gisborne).
The events youngest competitor, Charlie Barclay (Mangawhai), also enjoyed the fun waves on offer, along with the talented Louise Aitken (Auckland).
In the final it was a close battle between ‘Beans’ and 2017 winner Nicky Wellington (Auckland), and after a healthy exchange of waves it was Wellington who took her second Logger Heads title.
Another hotly contested division was the Junior Logger. Local Mangawhai surfer Taj Robinson caught some great waves over the weekend along with Joey Cox (Auckland) and last years winner Bassie Waldron (Auckland). Billy Whelan (Mangawhai Heads) also showed some excellent skills throughout the event.
In the final it was Natt Fitt (Red Beach) who stole the show. Fitt, who is only 13, has been a regular at the event and it was obvious he's been putting time into his craft.
This year saw the inclusion of a Master Division (over 45 years) and didn't disappoint with the elder statesman of the sport putting on an excellent display of style and grace. Rhys Fitt (Red Beach) surfed well throughout the early rounds as did Stephen Sosich (Auckland) and Roger Hall (Ruakaka). A stand out performer was former South African Champ and Orewa local Mark Hoyle.
In the finals it was Orewa Longboard Club founder and longboard legend Paul Brown (Auckland) who claimed victory. Brown has been competing for over three decades and spends plenty of time based at Waipu Cove over the summer months. It was fitting that he should claim the maiden Logger Heads Masters win.
Open Logger winner Matt Newdick was a standout performer all weekend.
The Logger Heads 5 lineup. Longboarders pose with their slabs at Waipu.