Piha Bar to many of New Zealand’s current crop of young talent is nothing but an old ‘surfers tale’ that has grown over the years. However this weekend New Zealand’s best will compete in the Corona Super 16 on the Piha Bar.
The event is the last of six events on the Corona Crown Surfing Series with Men’s and Women’s champions to determined at the end of the one-day event on Saturday. The word is that the bar is back and better than ever with long lefthand waves peeling along South Piha Beach Auckland, New Zealand. If conditions permit the competitors may be able to dispel the ancient ‘myth’ and score epic waves.
Daniel Kereopa (Rag) has such a massive lead on the Corona Crown Surfing Series that he cannot be surpassed even with a poor result this weekend. That means he defends his title that he won last year and wins the series for the sixth time in the last seven years. The title defence behind him, he suggests that he will take a different approach to this particular event: “Yeah I want to try a few new things this weekend for sure. I want to do a few bigger turns and some aerial manoeuvres that I don’t generally try in normal events,” he said. “I really want to enjoy competing this weekend”.
Kereopa who took out three national titles this year, including the longboarding division, said he has his sights on the Kaikoura longboard event in just over a week’s time. He’s looking forward to matching up his surfing with the best guys in the world who will be here to contest the event. “I want to give Josh Constable (USA) and his mates a good go and see how I shape up against the World Longboarding Champion,” said Kereopa.
Kereopa is currently leading the Hyundai Pro Longboard Tour in New Zealand and a tour win would cap off an unprecedented year for the 28-year-old. The Corona Super 16 will introduce six new faces to the fray and this will spice up the action and add a load of variety to the mix. Fifteen year old local surfer Ryan Hawker and sixteen year old Paco Divers (Sandy Bay) are two of the youngest competitors.
They have excelled all year and will challenge the older guys, including Kereopa. “It’s a funny situation, you wait for these guys to come through and make the grade but then you start to get worried when they beat you now and again,” commented Kereopa. He further suggested that if the waves were as good as predicted, the older guys may have the advantage due to the patience they have gained through years of competing.
The 2005/06 event champion Mark Dovey (Mnt) is the oldest surfer of the event this year and one surfer that will relish the chance to surf Piha Bar as will Luke Cederman (Rag) and AJ Matthews (WGM) the two other goofy foot surfers in the top 16. Others that may take a liking to the long lefthanders will be all the surfers from Raglan who surf similar conditions on a daily basis. They include current number two and three Zennor Wernham and Leon Santorik.
The top four girls also get to throw their hat in the ring this weekend. These surfers include current ratings leader Jessica Santorik, Laura Rishworth (Mnt), Kara Stephenson (Rag) and Michelle Langdon. The girls surf three rounds in their division with the surfer accumulating the most points winning the event.
The men surf three round robin heats accumulating points toward their total, with the top four surfers surfing off in the final. The six star Corona Super 16 offers $11,000 in prize money. As well as the main event there will also be an expression session held prior to the final where the surfers will go ‘nuts’ for extra cash. Batucada Sound Machine will play live at the beach at the conclusion of the surfing with the after party taking place at Squid Row in Auckland.