The brothers Quinn, Maz and Jay, breezed through to the quarterfinals of the Hyundai National Surfing Championships yesterday with each of them comfortably winning both of their second and third round heats. The excellent 1.5m – 2.0m swell at Stent Road has provided the perfect playground for the past two days for the two surfers and their surfing has certainly proved to be a crowd pleaser.
Maz Quinn (in action below) posted the exact same score in both his second and third round heats – 16.75 out of a possible 20. Huge arcing turns tight in the pocket have been Maz’s successful formula and he has done it better than everyone else. Younger brother Jay has been equally as dominant scoring 13.75 and 13.8 respectively in his heats.
Jay, who many regard as the more spontaneous surfer of the two, is looking forward to clashing with his brother and the only way this will happen will be in the final of the event should they both make it there. “It is always good to meet up with him (Maz) and I am looking forward to it this time around so let’s see how it goes,” said Quinn after his third round heat. “I haven’t got out of third gear yet, I have been trying to ‘ride out’ some older boards, older favourites that I haven’t been using outside of competition in the last couple of months”.
The 2004 National Champs was the last time the two surfers met in competition here in New Zealand with Maz coming out the victor over Jay who placed second.
Fellow Gisborne surfer Richard Christie was the other standout of the day posting 17.0 and 14.75 in his heats to move through to the last 16 surfers. Christie who was 2005 National Champion in the Open Mens and Junior Mens divisions put on an explosive performance scoring the only perfect ten point ride of the event to date. Christie excels in big righthanders where he can utilise his huge 6ft plus frame and his strategy today was certainly to go big with huge floaters, vertical re-entries and strong carves.
Local surfer Simon Deken advanced through both heats yesterday also backing up his dark horse tag from day three. Scoring 14.25 in his last heat of the day he advances to the quarterfinals. Coincidently the Quinn brothers, Christie and Deken the form four surfers will all surf in separate quarterfinals and provided they place first or second in those heats, will not meet up until the semifinals.
Daniel Kereopa of Raglan was another surfer to move through yesterday however in slightly different circumstances. He placed second twice, both in close calls seemingly looking at odds with the Stent Road line up. Some say that it is great to progress through close heats when not surfing at 100% and they look forward to the heats where everything comes together. Others suggest it is a sign of a struggling surfer that will not progress much further. Kereopa will hope it is the former as he continues his search for the elusive open men’s national title. Other surfers to win their third round heats included Leon Santorik (Rag), Zennor Wernham (Rag), Motu Mataa (Tara) and Nathan Welch (Gis).
The forecast for today is looking good with a slight decrease in swell and offshore winds predicted.
Check out the Surfing New Zealand website for a behind-the-scenes look at the event: www.surfingnz.co.nz.