Fun night helps fund young Riverton surfers

23:02, Jul 14 2014
COOL MOVES: Riverton surfer Sam Wallace, 17, shows why he is heading to the New Zealand secondary schools surfing competition in September. 

Swanndris will be swapped for Hawaiian shirts in Riverton this weekend, if only for one night.

The Colac Bay Tavern is hosting a Hawaiian-themed Mid Winter Beach Ball to raise money for Riverton surfers Sam Wallace, 17, and Sarah Menzies, 14, to head to the New Zealand secondary schools surfing competition in New Plymouth in September.

Sarah has been surfing for about two years and said it was great to have her community backing her.

"When you're walking down the street or out in the water everyone's wishing you good luck," she said.

She was excited and nervous to be competing in the national event.

"This is probably the biggest thing I've done in my life so far," she said.


Southland Surf School owner Jess Terrill took Sarah for one of her first surfing lessons and has watched her grow as a competitor.

"The thing that really stands out about Sarah is that she is super, super competitive and driven to succeed," Terrill said.

Terrill has known Sam for nearly four years.

He had been surfing his whole life and was already tackling the bigger waves when she met him, Terrill said.

The Pous, a well-known surfing family in Riverton, had taken the up-and-coming talent under their wings, she said.

"He'd be the strongest young surfer in Southland by far," Terrill said.

Both competitors would have fitness on their sides in the competition but Southland's cold weather could mean they may have had less time in the waves, she said.

However, Sam and Sarah might have one advantage.

While the northerners might still be wearing their winter wetsuits, the two Southlanders will probably be in summer suits, giving them more flexibility, she said.

Entertainment at the Beach Ball will come from Paul Winders and the Mojitos, as well as Christina Grove, Sarah Menzies and Chloe Gorton.

Winders is donating the $400 he would be receiving from the tavern for playing to the fundraising efforts.

He would be a real "crowd pleaser", Terrill said.

Entry to the fundraiser is free with raffles being sold on the night.

The Southland Times