Big southern ocean swell looms for surf finals

Mount Maunganui's Kehu Butler. Image courtesy of PhotoCPL.

The finals day of the King and Queen of the Point is set after a second big day of surfing that saw the premier divisions whittled down to the final eight surfers.

The forecasted increase in swell has been slow to eventuate. On Saturday it was a small swell of 1m that slowly increased through the day along with the southwest winds that strengthened.

Featuring in the top eight of the Open Men’s Division is Kehu Butler from Mount Maunganui, competing in New Zealand for the first time in three years after representing New Zealand abroad.

Kehu finished second in his quarterfinal match up behind another Australian based Mount Maunganui surfer Luke Griffin.

“Just the experience of surfing here again, surfing Manu Bay with no one out and getting amongst it, it has been nice," says Kehu of the reasons for returning to New Zealand for the event.

“It was tough out there, I am heavier than everyone else so I was struggling but it is nice to know that there are some weaves coming tomorrow [Sunday].

No doubt he will be looking forward to the increase in swell for the final day of the event following his 11.63 point performance on Saturday.

Kehu will face off against Luke again as well as Van Camenzind who has been a local standout all event and Callum Chuter from Mount Maunganui.

New Zealand Olympian Billy Stairmand from Raglan had the first of potentially three match ups against rising Australian star Joel Vaughan, the Kiwi getting the nod today with a 16.10 point total over Joel’s 15.67.

Joel has been contesting the Challenger Series this month while Stairmand will use this event as a warm-up for next week’s WSL qualifying series event in Indonesia.

The two surfers match up against Navryn Malone - Raglan, and Tom Robinson - Whangarei, in the first semifinal tomorrow.  Navryn notched up three heats on Saturday combining with his excellent performances in the Under 20 Boys Division.

Alani Morse.  Image courtesy of PhotoCPL.

Australian surfer Dimity Stoyle stole the show in the Open Women’s Division leading the quarterfinalists out with a 14.50 point total in the opening heat. 

An ex-WSL World Tour surfer that now competes in Challenger Series events, Dimity made the most of the lefthanders on her backhand, a stark contrast to the running righthanders of her home base of the Gold Coast.

Dimity will face off against the returning Ariana Shewry from Taranaki, in the semifinals, Ariana competing for the first time this season. 

They are joined by the young Kyra Wallis from Piha, and Aimee Brown from Great Barrier Island, who finalled at the Aotearoa Surf Pro in April.

In the second semifinal, it will be the two New Zealand Junior Surfing Team members Lola Groube from Pauanui and Alani Morse from Raglan who will go up against their older rivals Liv Haysom from Piha and Elin Tawharu from Mount Maunganui.  All four surfers will be looking to close out the domestic season on a high, Elin going for her second win of the season.

Earlier in the day it was the local surfers in the Under 20 Boys Division that held strong against a powerful showing from their visitors. 

Navryn Malone and Luca Thompson advanced to the final twelve surfers in the division, both surfers eclipsing 15 point heat totals.  They were joined by Raglan Surfing Academy student Tava Santorik who also looked strong with his day two performance. 

Of the visitors, it was Cooper Ashill from Whangarei and Joe Goodjohn from Mount Maunganui that won their heats to make it through to the final day.

Rounding out the day was the Under 20 Girls Division Semifinals where Poppy Arkle from Piha stormed to a win in the first semifinal and Lola Groube took out the second semifinal.

The Quiksilver Expression session mixed up Day Two proceedings and it was Alani Morse that claimed the Open Women’s Title while the Fritchley siblings Sage and Sol claimed the junior wins in the 20 surfer all-in heat.  

The King and Queen of the Point presented by Quiksilver, Roxy and Backdoor starts on Friday the 24th May and concludes on Sunday the 26th with surfing taking place daily from 8am-5pm at Manu Bay. The schedule, heat times results and live scores can be found at

The King and Queen of the Point presented by Quiksilver, Roxy and Backdoor is an SNZ 3000 event with prize money and prizes from Backdoor, Quiksilver and Roxy up for grabs. 

National Rankings

NZ Surf Series - Open MenOpen Women
NZ Grom Series - U18 BoysU18 GirlsU16 BoysU16 GirlsU14 BoysU14 Girls
NZ Longboard and SUP Series - Men'sWomen'sOver 40sOver 50sU18 BoysU18 Girls


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to make a comment.