Tropical surfing playground in the Bay of Plenty

Matt Hewitt. Image courtesy of Jereme Aubertin.

A full field of New Zealand’s top surfers will be greeted by a fresh swell at Papamoa Beach this weekend, as summer continues to produce a tropical surfing playground in the Bay of Plenty.

The Barrett Homes Surf Open takes place on Saturday and Sunday, playing host to the nearly 100 entrants across four shortboard and longboard divisions.

The good swell forecast and Papamoa’s close proximity to a number of New Zealand’s top surfers that reside in the Bay of Plenty means that an experienced mix of surfers are set to take part in the event.

Making their first appearances this year, and in some cases for several years, are the likes of 2009 National Champion Matt Hewitt, ex national representatives Leon Santorik and Nick White along with ex junior representative Buck Woods.

The four surfers are part of a large entry list of local surfers that will enjoy having a crack at the title this weekend.

Meanwhile, Whangamata surfer Ella Williams returns to the competitive arena for the first time in seven months as she prepares for her international campaign that’s starts in Australia. Williams will be one of nine Kiwis competing internationally next week and the Barrett Homes Surf Open will provide the perfect practice run before she departs.

Williams will be searching for good early season form to climb back up the rankings from 52nd on the World Qualifying Series in 2018 and thereby giving herself a good chance at qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Williams will be out to stop the three-event winning streak of Great Barrier Island surfer Aimee Brown who has won every event since Williams competed domestically in May.

Brown, the new National Champion, will be keen to test her skills against the more experienced Williams as well as local surfer Raiha Ensor who is joining Williams and three other Kiwi females in Australia.

On the Men’s side of the event it will be Taylor Hutchison (Rag) who will take in his last event in home waters before heading to Australia to compete alongside Billy Stairmand (Rag) and Elliot Paerata – Reid (Piha) at the QS1,000 while Kehu Butler (mnt) takes off to Brazil for a major QS6,000 event.

The 2019 edition of the Barrett Homes Open introduces the Open Men’s and Women’s Divisions for the first time at the event while retaining the longboard divisions from previous years. Participants will compete for over $8,000 in prize money with Sunday’s finals action set to go to air live from 10am – 2pm on Sky Sport 2.

The Barrett Homes Surf Open marks the second of seven events on the New Zealand Surf Series and New Zealand Longboard Tour.

Papamoa based Barrett Homes has a proud history of supporting initiatives in the area and making things happen for the community.

This will be their third year backing the surfing event which features a decked out VIP area for guests and participants as well as food vendors and plenty of viewing spaces for friends, family and fans. Event partners, The Island, will be hosting everyone from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon outside competition times.

Action will take place at the Pony Club Car Park just north of the Papamoa Domain from 8am – 6pm on Saturday and 8am – 3pm on Sunday.



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