Mount Maunganui’s Raiha Ensor has taken out the women’s division at the Rip Curl Pro in Raglan over the weekend.
The open women’s final was a close affair, with Raiha coming out on top over Gisborne’s Saffi Vette.
Raiha’s competition win was a long time coming, and she says she took inspiration from the men’s winner, Billy Stairmand.
“I was feeling good going into this weekend. I have been working with Billy all this week sponging up his knowledge of the break here as well as focusing on how to construct a good heat strategically.”
“The last comp Ella Williams beat me and I only needed a mid-range score to win that event so I was pissed off with myself but I have been working on getting back-up waves and I am stoked that I got a seven and six early in the final this weekend which was a half decent heat total that I could defend instead of chasing down the win.”
Raiha says the competition at the event is very strong.
“These events are good practice for the World Qualifying Series events and especially this one because it always has the hardest field of surfers, getting to surf against the likes of Ella is awesome because she isn’t always competing in New Zealand.”
Raglan surfer Billy Stairmand took out the men’s competition, beating out a strong field of domestic surfers.
Billy looked unstoppable all weekend and his relentless performances continued into the final as he went on to post a 16.44 point heat total out of a possible 20 points, easily defeating fellow local Luke Cederman in the same one-two scenario as the 2018 event.
Billy says he appreciates having quality surfing gear as it enhances his performances in the water.
“Yeah, I mean I keep saying it but my equipment is so good at the moment and it just makes me comfortable when competing.
“I wanted to put on a show out there because there are heaps of people watching today and also live on Sky Sport,” he says.
The Rip Curl Pro is the first of four straight legs of the New Zealand Surf Series with rankings set to change considerably over the next month after the series frequents Dunedin, Christchurch and then returns to Raglan.
Information in regard to the remaining events are below:
Emerson’s South Island Championships, Dunedin – 19 – 21 April
Exit Surf Men’s Canterbury Championships, Christchurch (mobile) – 26-28 April
Backdoor Oceanbridge Manu Bay Pro, Raglan – 3-5 May
Backdoor BayBash, location TBC – 16-17 November