Quality surfing keeps pushing longboard standard
BY TONY BAKER
Mangawhai’s annual Logger Heads traditional longboard contest saw the strongest field of entries in both the women's and junior division, with a bunch of new faces also taking to water in the Open Logger and Old Mal divisions.
The waves at Mangawhai Heads on March 9 were pretty challenging at times, but as with every year there were some magical moments of tradition, style and classic longboarding.
In the Junior Logger Division it was an in-form Nat Fitt (Orewa) who claimed his second consecutive win ahead of local stylist Billy Whelan (Mangawhai Heads). Fitt, who got back from a top four placing at the Noosa Festival of Surfing in the U14 Boys, showed style and maturity well beyond his years. Other stand-out Juniors included Te Maia Pihema (Auckland) and Sonny Eades (Omanu)
The Old Mal Division, featuring pre-1970's longboards, was always going to be one to watch. It was very much new versus old in the heats. Hamiora Gibson (Gisborne) put on a solid performance and NZ longboard legend and last minute entry Daryn McBride (Port Waikato) putting on a clinic (basically every time he hit the water). Last years winner Jordan Griffin (Mount Maunganui) showed why he is regarded as one of the countries top and most relevant surfers. Griffin battled it out with Auckland's Tom Mason and Matt Newdick, both surfers continue to perfect their approaches towards traditional longboarding with long nose rides, arcing turns and cheater 5's. In the end it was Newdick (Auckland) who managed to snag the final and claim his maiden Old Mal title.
This year's event saw over a dozen women's entries with the likes of Lou Aitken (Auckland), Jess Lowcher (Mount Maunganui) and Ann Snyder (Mount Maunganui) styling through the mid-morning high tide conditions. In the final it was 2017 champ Nicky Wellington (Auckland) who showed why she is till one of the top lady sliders in NZ, picking off some great peelers and spending more time on the nose than off it. Runner-up was Auckland's Sasha Brownlee who also continues to push the standard for women's logging in Aotearoa.
The Open Logger was a hotly contested affair, with the likes of Dale Oswald (Waihi Beach), Jackson Mau (Mount Maunganui) and Shinji Mizuno (Mount Maunganui) all styling their way through the day. By the time the Open Logger Final rolled around the tide had drained out, but as always, the high quality of talent in the division provided for some hot log action in the final. Daryn McBride (Port Waikato) showed why he remains one of the countries best with smooth footwork and nose rides placing 3rd. Jordan Griffin (Mount Maunganui) also put of a display of pure style, but it was Paul Culpan (Auckland) who eventually won with his classic and traditional approach towards logging. Culpan is a regular in the North and showed true class to take a maiden victory in the event.
Aucklander Paul Culpan was all class winning the Open Logger class, a maiden victory for him in the event. PHOTO/CPL