Another Poulter tames national rivals
The surfing titles keep coming for Raglan's Poulter family.
On Thursday the youngest of the three kids, Sam, took his first New Zealand crown when winning the under-18 longboard event at the national championships at Piha.
Poulter, 16, has something of a family path to follow in the sport, with his elder siblings Ben, 18, and Alexis, 20 having won eight national titles between them and represented New Zealand at the world junior championships.
"I was pretty happy; it was kind of cool to finally get one because Alexis has five and Ben's got three," Poulter said of his victory.
The youngest Poulter has been surfing for about eight years and is part of the Raglan Area School's surf academy.
He attributes his success to being able to surf every day in his sixth school period.
"That was really helpful, surfing every day, in all conditions," he said.
With a lack of numbers in Poulter's event, there was a straight final, but he was made to work hard for his victory, with less than 0.1 points between him and the second place-getter.
"The surf wasn't very good, so it was pretty hard. It was pretty close, I was pretty stoked to win."
Poulter also surfs a shortboard but doesn't compete in it because he's found his niche on the longer one.
"It just seems to come a bit easier. I can turn a longboard because I'm a bit bigger than some kids, so I can turn it a bit easier," he said.
The national championships were the second leg of the Hyundai Longboard Tour and Poulter is set to compete at the remaining three rounds in Northland, New Plymouth and Mt Maunganui.
Ben won the same event last year at the same venue. This year he got to the semifinals of the open longboard competition, while he reached the quarterfinals of the shortboard event.
Alexis won the women's bodyboard title and came second in the longboard; today she is in the final of the shortboard after posting a score of 7.5 points yesterday to finish second in her semifinal, which was contested in two-to-three-metre waves.
Also in the final will be Whangamata's Ella Williams, who won that semifinal with an 8.33-point ride and a 10.2 total.
After waiting five days to get back in the water after horrible conditions, the men's open surfers were able to contest their quarterfinals yesterday.
Two Raglan riders will look to advance from the the last eight after Billy Stairmand and Leon Santorik both finished second in their events by scoring 14.17 and 9.17, respectively.
Meanwhile, Raglan's Daniel Kereopa retained the men's stand-up paddle board title with a dominant performance yesterday, notching up a 15.8 point heat total.
Armie Armstrong, also of Raglan, finished second, with Whangamata's Karl Arsene fourth.