Ricardo Christie making waves in his requalification Campaign

Ricardo ChristieRicardo Christie’s requalification campaign is off to a flying start, after winning the Martinique Pro last week in perfect, 3 to 4 foot waves.

The Mahia native qualified for the Championship Tour (CT) back in 2015. But during his season among the world’s best, he made it past the treacherous second round only three times. His best result was a quarterfinal finish in Brazil. He was not able to requalify, and returned to the Qualifying Series (QS) to work his way back.


Christie was under pressure early on, as his opponent had already put two decent scores on the board. But then the Kiwi started on a bomb and went all-out, risking everything on two super-critical turns for an 8.83 and ultimately, the big win.

“When the waves are like that you can forget everything and just go out there and surf,” he said. “I feel like I’ve improved a lot, I’ve just been working really hard and I learned a lot when I was on tour. It doesn’t feel like it’s over, it’s just the beginning of the year so I just have to keep doing my thing.”

In the Final, Christie was facing one of the best QS surfers there is, Bino Lopes. Lopes is the unlucky surfer who stood on the very edge of qualification last season, and saw the Championship Tour shut its door right in from of him, as he just missed the cutoff.


-World Surf League

Barrett Homes NZ Open SUP and Longboarding Mt Maunganui

Stella Smith

The New Zealand Open SUP and Longboard event was run at Mt Maunganui over the weekend with five surfers from the Gisborne Boardriders Club making it to the event. Waves for the event were a reasonably contestable 1-2 feet and clean on day one and slightly larger on Sunday but very wind affected.

Gisborne’s most notable performance came from 14 year old Stella Smith (GBC) who totally dominated the Open Women’s SUP division winning with a total heat score of 16.30.
The other three finalists required a combination of scores to have a shot at the title. This big win comes hot on the heels of Smith’s NZ National Open Women’s SUP title she won at Piha in January.
There were no Junior events on offer in any division over the weekend so that left her competing in the Open Women’s SUP Smith’s only option.
Smith bagged more than a handful of prizes from Barrett Homes, the major sponsor of the event including a $50.00 bottle of Makaraka Reserve Pinot Noir wine of Chile.
Marguerite Vujcich (GBC) of Hawkes Bay travels to attend all Gisborne Boardriders events made the trip through to Mt Maunganui and competed in two divisions. Vujcich entered in the over 50 Longboard division where she competed with the men. Vujcich was unfortunately bundled out early in this event. Vujcich made up for the age group loss by making the Open Women’s Longboard final where she placed 4th.
Stella Smith’s father Gary Smith (GBC) competed in the Open Men’s SUP but was unfortunately out classed in round one finishing 3rd in his heat.
Fifteen year old Brie Ryan (GBC) was another junior competing in the Open Men’s Longboard division and was able to gather some valuable experience surfing against New Zealand’s top Longboarders. He performed well and was poised to progress through Round One in second place but within the final minute dropped to 3rd and was eliminated in round one.
Gisborne’s Development Manager Kelly Ryan was present and entered the Open Logger Division where competitors are only allowed to ride heavy single fin Longboards shaped in the traditional 1960’s style.
Ryan placed third overall and was pleased with the way Gisborne performed.
“To have three out of five surfers make finals today is really encouraging. I know there are a lot of talented SUP and Longboard surfers locally who could have shaken things up over at the Mt, so it would be great to see a few more making the effort. Stella Smith has really put Gisborne, Women’s SUP and the sport of SUP on the map lately with her rise in performance and she is also dominant in other areas of surfing and Surflifesaving. I see a great future in kids who are multi talented board riders as I believe that’s where the sport will grow the most in the very near future.”
Look out from April 1st-9th when The Ultimate Waterman NZ begins here. The whole event is mobile and could end up right here in Gisborne especially given our wave quality at that time of year. The Ultimate Waterman is an event that combines a multitude of water craft including Longboard, Shortboard and SUP as local, national and international competitors vie for the Title of Ultimate Waterman NZ.

Gisborne Surfers storm Whangamata Grom Series

Finn Johnson
Finn Johnson. Image courtesy of Cory / NZ Surfing Magazine

Gisborne Boardriders – Words by Kelly Ryan

Great weekend away in Whangamata for Gisborne. We took 11 surfers from Gisborne and managed to get 3 surfers into the finals. The waves turned up and ranged from good to excellent from Friday through to Sunday with Sunday being the smallest and most difficult in the early afternoon when a sea breeze popped up then disappeared again for perfectly offshore finals.

Saffi Vette was easily our top performer in the event, taking a huge lead in the final and winning the Under 17 Girls division convincingly. Vette left all fellow finalists requiring a combination of scores to catch her. This was a far cry from her near elimination in the semifinals and credit must go to Vette for her ability, tenacity and competitive nature. It was Kai Wolf who unfortunately handed Vette her finals spot being hit with an interference call late in the semifinal heat. Saffi posted an 8 and a 9 point ride in the final.
Young Ava Smith was another of our finalists, surfing for her first time in a National rated competition. Smith looks set to follow in the footsteps of both her older sisters as she went about casually scalping Under 14 Girl surfers from all over New Zealand on her way to a fourth place finish in that division.
Finn Vette was our third finalist and finished 3rd overall in the Under 14 Boys event.
Vette showed flashes of absolute brilliance in the early rounds of competition but had to settle for 3rd in the final. Judging by his performance and competitive spirit it will be just a matter of time before he takes a win in one of these events.
As this is a Series of events a finals placing is perfect for these surfers,  if they can maintain consistency a series win will be on the cards.

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Comp Season Underway For Gisborne Boardriders

Finn Johnson

Fourteen year old Finn Johnson of Wainui yesterday won the open men’s division of this year’s first Gisborne Boardriders Event. Johnson who proudly surfed for Stock Route Mafia syndicate used speed in testing conditions, a combination of searing forehand carves and vertical backhand fin throws to take the win. Johnson is a talented surfer but seemed an underdog being the youngest surfer in the Open division and surfing against seasoned men, women and girls, some of whom hold, or have held national titles in the past. Johnson won every heat on his way to victory today. Josh Colbert (SRM) was looking the stand out surfer in earlier rounds but was unable to find the waves in the final to match Johnson

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Saffi Vette goes for two at NZ Surfing Nationals

One title wasn’t enough for Tairawhiti’s Saffi Vette last week at Piha, where she fought her way to the top of both the under-16 and under-18 women’s divisions. On finals day, competitors had to contend with a large, maxing swell reforming on the renowned Piha Bar which was a test of both fitness and nerve.

Saffi has been putting in the hard yards recently, not only clocking up a great number of hours in the surf but also in the form of cardio training with Gisborne-based former Olympian Michelle Rennie. In addition, Saffi has been training and patrolling with Wainui Surf Lifesaving Club, gaining the water knowledge and confidence required to negotiate challenging ocean conditions.

That hard worked allowed the 15 year old perform when pressure was on and conditions got tough.

Saffi Vette Surfing