Josh Kettle takes advantage of surprise opportunity

Last updated 05:00 30/04/2014
Josh Kettle
AIMING HIGH: Josh Kettle is one of only two New Zealand surfers left in the event.

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Josh Kettle made the most of a surprise second chance at Taranaki's surf festival yesterday.

The 19-year-old didn't qualify for the ASP Men's Pro Juniors competition in the New Zealand Home Loan Surf Festival, but when another surfer fell ill he was called in as an alternate.

He then went on to win his heat and is Taranaki's only representative left in the sole men's professional event at the festival.

"In my first heat I was having a shocker. I snapped my leg rope and I just wasn't on my game," he said.

"But somehow I ended up in anyway, and my next surf was a lot better."

The 19-year-old architecture student is one of only two New Zealand surfers left in the event, along with Korbin Hutchings from Gisborne.

"I went into heat two with no expectations and I got second, which was awesome," the Taranaki lad said.

"My chances of winning are probably quite slim, but I'm gonna try as hard as I can."

Earlier in the day Taranaki brothers Daniel and Joshua Farr qualified to compete in the event and joined fellow Taranaki man Sean Kettle, Josh's brother, who had automatic entry because he had been competing on the circuit.

However, the three men were knocked out of the competition in round one.

Festival Director Craig Williamson was still pleased the Taranaki men got the chance to compete.

"It was a great experience for the boys, and I know first hand that they were thrilled to be involved," Williamson said.

The Chain Resources Pro Junior men's event is the sixth stop of the 2014 International ASP two-star junior qualifying series competitions where the best under 21 surfers in Australasia compete to gain points for entry in the ASP World Junior Championship event later this year.

Williamson said there were many New Zealand surfers who really wanted to compete, but initially couldn't because they weren't on the circuit.

Because of the interest a wildcard entry-by-trial was invented to allow four New Zealand surfers to compete.

The New Zealand surfers weren't the only talent on the waves, though.

Soli Bailey from Byron Bay in Australia surfed through a serious injury and won his opening heat.

Bailey cut his foot after kicking a knife on an Anzac Day fishing trip, leaving him with six stitches.

Despite being on crutches out of the water the current No 1 on the ASP Australasia junior qualifying series was determined to surf through to try to seal his victory.

"I just arrived here this morning and didn't know if I would surf today, but it worked out," he said.

"It was just bad luck. Of all the angles I could have kicked the knife, I did it on the one that worked out the worst.

"It's not too bad though. I have six stitches and I can still surf. It hurts more to walk than surf."

There are 36 hours of surfing to get through before the end of the New Zealand Home Loans Surf Festival on Sunday, which meant an average of six hours had to be done per day.

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The Port Taranaki Pro, which features top female surfers from around the world should start this morning, the festival's surfing director Jarred Hancox said.

If good conditions continue throughout the day the crowds can expect to see some top female talent on the waves, including hometown girl Paige Hareb.

- Taranaki Daily News

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