New AB3 contest a hit with surfers
Great weather, great surfing and a great atmosphere is how a new surf contest at Ocean Beach will be remembered.
The AB3 (Anything But 3) contest was held at Whangarei Heads on Saturday, May 5.
Surfers could ride anything but their three-fin thrusters, and a special log division catered for heavy single-fin longboards. About 40 surfers took part, including some of New Zealand's best, many getting their surfboards specially made or adapted for the contest.
The surf was small but consistent and participants were greeted with sunny weather and even a show of dolphins. The event was the second in a series created this year.
The open division was hotly contested, with 21-year-old Sandy Bay surfer Paco Divers just narrowly missing out on the title despite some explosive surfing.
The division was won by just 0.64 points by Aucklander Thomas Kibblewhite, who surfs on the world stage, and currently placed fourth in the Australian ASP Longboard Qualifying Series. Another Sandy Bay surfer, Patxi Scott-Arrieta impressed by surfing all the way to the finals, placing fourth.
The junior division was dominated by Whangarei surfers with Paul Moretti taking the win after returning from the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships in Panama.
Patxi again impressed all the way to the finals but was beaten by his younger brother Manu who took second place. Ocean Beach surfer Flynn Hart finished fourth.
In the women's division Ocean Beach's Lee Orton finished second and Denise Piper came fourth but the title was won by Aucklander Shelley Jones.
The log division was won by Aucklander Paul Culpan, who showed smooth styles and long traditional nose-rides on his longboard.
Ocean Beach Board Riders Club was given $465 for helping to host the event, plus the proceeds of a sausage sizzle on the day.
President Rupert Newbold says the money will be used to help encourage the club's junior members.
The idea is to give something back to the clubs who have supported surfers all these years, one organiser Kevin "Nudge" Piper says.
"It's about helping the clubs, whether that's through money or allowing the younger guys to experience surfing against some of New Zealand's best surfers."