New Zealand’s richest domestic surfing event is only a couple of weeks away with the Rip Curl Pro presented by Galbraiths taking place at the fabled point break of Manu Bay, Raglan from Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th May.
The event caters to the best surfers in New Zealand in both the Open Men’s and Women’s Divisions as well as the juniors on the rise in the Under 20 Boys Division.
The event has always showcased top performances from Kiwi surfers and the move to a later time slot in May this year will give the event a high chance of being contested in good conditions on the Raglan points. The backup location of Ruapuke Beach has had to be used at some stage during of each of the last three Rip Curl Pros and despite scoring pumping waves at Ruapuke, the traditional home of the event is within the lefthand point breaks.
Defending event champion Ricardo Christie (Gis) is ineligible to compete in this year’s event with his commitments to the World Surf League Championship Tour. However, this year, several of New Zealand’s top surfers will use the event as a final hit out before they depart for Nicaragua to compete at the ISA World Surfing Games starting only days later.
The New Zealand Team includes two females, Ella Williams (WGM) and Paige Hareb (Tara), two of our top medal prospects. Williams has confirmed that she will be competing at the Rip Curl Pro presented by Galbraiths prior to her departure.
With Williams focus on the World Surf League Qualifying Series, it will be a rare domestic appearance for Williams having only had the chance to compete at one domestic event this year.
Williams and Hareb are joined by two-time Rip Curl Pro champion and local Raglan surfer Billy Stairmand in the New Zealand Team. Stairmand will return to New Zealand after two important QS10,000 events in California and Brazil. He will contest the Rip Curl Pro before flying out for Nicaragua.
Stairmand last won the event in 2011 with his other win coming in 2009. Stairmand placed seventh at the event in 2014, a result that he will surely want to make up for this time around.
Stairmand will be up against the might of current ratings leader Maz Quinn (Gis) who has been in excellent form all year. Quinn will want to exact revenge on Stairmand after the two went blow for blow at the National Championships in January with Stairmand getting the nod. Since then Quinn has won both the South Island Championships and the Canterbury Championships to leap frog Stairmand on the ratings.
Many of the country’s top young surfers will also be eyeing up the event as their last chance to shine before the New Zealand Junior Surfing Team is named. The top young female surfers will be competing in the Open Women’s Division while the boys will contest the Under 20 Division.
Christchurch surfer Harrison Whiteside currently leads the rankings over Callum Chuter who is based out of Raglan attending the Raglan Surf Academy. They will be up against the likes of Taylor Hutchison (Rag) who won the most recent junior event at Raglan as well as New Zealand representative Dune Kennings (WGM) who sits in third place and is aiming to use this event as a warm up for Nicaragua after having missed the last three events due to injury.
Action at the event will take place from 8am – 5pm daily with all finals set up wrap up on Sunday afternoon.
The Rip Curl Pro presented by Galbraiths includes the all-time Saturday night gathering at the YOT Club thanks to Galbraiths.
Source: Surfing New Zealand