Stairmand Smashes Field at O’Neill Sequence Surf Shop Pro November 9, 2009 by Mountain Dew NZ

Surfing NZ logo clear 70Raglan surfer Billy Stairmand (20) smashed apart a star-studded field of surfers to take a well received victory at the O’Neill Sequence Surf Shop Pro today (Sunday 8th November). Stairmand’s partner, Jessica Santorik, was also victorious in the Open Women’s Division making it a highly successful weekend for the young couple.

The O’Neill Sequence Surf Shop Pro, held at Makorori Beach, Gisborne is the first of five events on the Export Gold Series which stretches throughout the country during the coming summer months.

Today’s conditions were less than desirable with up to a metre of swell affected by onshore winds. Despite the challenges facing the surfers, the level of surfing was impressive during the final stages of the event.

Billy StairmandBilly Stairmand – IMAge Col/SURF2SURF.com

In the final Stairmand posted a 17.0 point heat total which he accumulated in the first ten minutes, nearly putting an end to his opponents efforts before the halfway mark of the 25 minute final.

“I was stoked to get those first two” said Stairmand with a beaming ear-to-ear grin. “I snuck into that second ‘double up’ wave just as I got out the back and did some good turns to get that eight.”

Hailing from the long lefts of Raglan, it was no surprise that Stairmand hunted down the only lefts along Makorori Beach during the final. “I had seen a few lefts earlier and thought I would sit there. Then the first two waves came through and that was about it….I almost sat there the rest of the final and caught nothing”.

Gisborne surfer Chris Malone fought back in the final posting a 7.5 point ride late in the final which temporarily gave Stairmand the jitters but his tally was insurmountable.

Malone finished the event placed second after scoring 13.70 ahead of Whangamata surfer Gauranga Ormond. Ormond had looked sharp all day and got off to a good start in the final but the waves on offer hampered his scoring potential. However he will still be happy with his start to the Export Gold Series and will press to match his runner up finish in 2008/09.

Mount Maunganui surfer Nick White finished with a career best fourth placing in the final with his good run of form coming up short at the end of the day.

Earlier in the day Stairmand and Malone eliminated Blair Stewart (Gis) and Paco Divers (Sandy Bay) in the first semifinal and Ormond and White eliminated Keone Campbell (Tara) and Bobby Hansen (Gis) in the second semifinal.

Jess SantorikJess Santorik – Image Col/SURF2SURF.com

Jessica Santorik (Rag) defended her O’Neill Sequence Surf Shop Pro title in relatively easy fashion in the Open Women’s Division final scoring 13.50 points out of a possible 20. Santorik started slowly but then found her rhythm notching up single wave scores of 7.0 and 6.5 at the end of the heat.

“I was a bit worried that I wasn’t going to get any waves at the start but luckily I scrambled onto a couple at the end”.

Santorik now takes the lead on the Export Gold Series with four events remaining. “I am stoked with the start to the year, you can’t ask for more. Obviously it sets me up well for the rest of the year. I definitely want to win the Export Gold Series this year after placing runner up in 2008/09” said Santorik.

Rosa Thompson (Auck) fought hard in the final to lock in a 10.50 point heat total and place runner up. New Zealand Junior representatives Alexis Poulter (Rag) and Jayda Martin – Fitzharris finished third and fourth respectively.

Paco DiversPaco Divers – Image Col/SURF2SURF.com

Paco Divers (Sandy Bay) secured a nail-biting win in the Under 20 Men’s Division. Divers found himself languishing at the rear of the field midway through the 25 minute final before storming back with consecutive rides of 6.50 and 7.25 to shoot him out to a considerable lead.

Early heat leader and eventual Open Men’s winner Billy Stairmand (Rag) revelled in the small onshore conditions but found himself requiring a 7.01 point ride to win the final with only seconds to go.

Divers sat on Stairmand executing some excellent blocking manoeuvres before he made what could have been a telling error of judgement taking off on a wave and gifting Stairmand a last ditch chance for victory. Stairmand caught the last wave with five seconds on the clock and rode it to the beach completing several big turns. Stairmand scored a 6.95 point ride for a narrow loss.

Piha surfer Ryan Hawker remained in the hunt during the first half of the final before Divers pushed for the lead and he ultimately finished third ahead of Alex Dive in fourth place. Dive required a second placing to win the series and bump Sean Peggs (Tairua) into second.

As it panned out, despite Peggs placing ninth at the O’Neill Sequence Surf Shop Pro, he defended his Export Gold Series title. “Well that makes a quarterfinal finish a little better, I thought I had completely blown it” a surprised Peggs commented upon being informed of his series title.

Final results from the O’Neill Sequence Surf Shop Pro – Export Gold Series Event 1 follow:

Open Men’s Division Final
Billy Stairmand (Rag), 1, Chris Malone (Gis), 2, Gauranga Ormond (Whmata), 3, Nick White (Mnt), 4

Open Womens Final
Jessica Santorik (Rag), 1, Rosa Thompson (Auck), 2, Alexis Poulter (Rag), 3, Jayda Martin-Fitzharris (Gis), 4

Under 20 Junior Men Final
Paco Divers (Sandy Bay), 1, Billy Stairmand (Rag), 2, Ryan Hawker (Piha), 3, Alex Dive (Mnt), 4

Please see below for the top ten rated surfers at the end of the Export Gold Series Under 20 Men’s Division.
1, Sean Peggs (Tairua)
2, Alex Dive (Mnt)
3, Buck Woods (Gis)
4, Paco Divers (Sandy Bay)
5, Billy Stairmand (Rag)
6, Tim O’Connor (Mnt)
7, Keone Campbell (Tara)
8, Tane Wallis (Piha)
9, Tim Thompson (Auck)
10, Bodhi Whitaker (Gis)

For complete event write ups, results, surfer and industry ratings, images and audio interviews from the event can be viewed on www.surfingnz.co.nz.

Please see below for the remaining four events that make up the 2009/10 Export Gold Series

Event 2: 30 January – 1 February, Billabong Pro, Whangamata
Event 3: 26 – 28 February, Rip Curl Pro, Raglan
Event 4: 1 – 5 April, Hyundai National Surfing Championships, Gisborne
Event 5: 23 – 24 April, Export Gold Super 16 / Interclub Championships / North Island South Island Challenge, Piha Beach

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Hyundai
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