Friday, March 1, 2013

James Washer wins Seventhwave MOSA Award at Go For Gold Greymouth


The Greymouth Go For Gold was held over Friday and Saturday 22nd-23rd of February 2013. The competition was a roaring success with pumping waves and great weather. Congratulations to Levi and the other division winners and all those who competed well during the contest.

The Seventhwave Most Outstanding Surfer Award (MOSA) was once again up for grabs by any one of the contestants in the competition. The MOSA is awarded by the judges decision and goes to the competitor who demonstrates the highest degree of outstanding individual performance throughout the weekend of competition.

The 3 contenders for the MOSA prize were...

Ruben Lyons (8yr old from Kaikoura in his first SISA contest) had been watched the weekend before at the Grom comp in Kaikoura which was his first contest and he showed so much more confidence and surfed much better.

Next was the oldest competitor Steve Newby. A long time Kahuna Boardrider, who waits patiently for the waves and when they come he has the ability to hit the lip and slash the face. Steve, who will be 56 later this month, usually catches just the 2 waves required as he is up against younger competitors in the Grand Masters which is over 45 and usually gets piped at the post. He is a legend and a great surfer who has been surfing for a very long time.

However the winner was another Kahuna boy, James Washer.  James surfs fluidly in the pocket and has the ability to crack the lip, he always surfs well and looks good during his heats however when it gets tight at the end of the semis or final someone else takes it from him, a loyal club member and a nice guy.

Congratulations James. Just complete the Custom-Fit form [here] and your wetsuit will be 10 days away.

A Real Kiwi Adventure and a Surf Contest

By Seventhwave Team-Rider and Guest Blogger Ambrose McNeill 

The Writer, Photo: CPL
On Friday the 15th of February I set out to travel from Christchurch to New Plymouth’s Fitzroy beach for the fourth event of the Hyundai longboard surfing tour. This was my third event for the year after travelling to the first event in Raglan and the third event in Sandy bay. Both comps had been super fun and successful weekends. In Raglan I won the first ever traditional ‘logging’ division and in Sandy bay I won the best noseride in the same division.  After two good comps I was pumped to head back up north.

My adventure started at Christchurch airport. In order to maintain a slender budget for the trip I had decided NOT to take my surfboard (instead borrow a friends) and also to catch a standby flight. For anyone that hasn’t traveled standby before, the idea is that you rock up to the airport half an hour before your planned flight with no ticket and they will sell you an unsold seat for a piece of banana bread and a live chicken or alternatively $69. If you don’t get on your intended flight they put you on the next one. Well, when I arrived at the airport there was a line longer than the tower of terror at Dreamland. Despite being a student myself, I had forgotten to take into account that university started on Monday and every man and his chicken were ditching Christchurch.
By the time I reached the front of the line there were no flights to New Plymouth and all that was left was a lone flight to Palmerston North…

On the plane ride to Palmerston North I frantically tried to colour in the words New Plymouth on an old banana box as this was hopefully going to be my ticket to making it the contest, I had 12 hours. I arrived in Palmerston North at 8.30pm and had a Taxi drop me on the main road out of town. As the sun went down on me and about twenty cars speed past things were looking grim. Just as I was about to call Mumud (the taxi driver who gave me his card) and find a hostel, a wee Toyota sedan pulled over. A middle aged couple said they were going to Wanganui and that I could stay the night with them there and start again in the morning. Although I could hear my mother’s voice telling me never to get into a car with strangers and stay at their house, I went with my sensible conscious and jumped in.

Carmel and her husband Tom were on their way to surprise their daughter and family for their grandsons first birthday. The family had no idea Carmel and Tom were coming to stay, let alone bringing a hitch hiker. After the initial surprise, “why the hell did you bring a hitch hiker to stay mum?” vibe, the Keppa family completely took me under their wing. I had an awesome night talking about the upcoming Super 15 season and being shown magic tricks by 12 year old Josh.

The next morning I set out at 6am. Wanganui to New Plymouth is a two hour drive and I had potential to be in the first heat at 8am. After only waiting fifteen minutes a huge milk tanker halted up in front of me. The truck was bound for Inglewood, about 20 minutes from New Plymouth. The driver, Paul, was a typical kiwi good sort and he filled me on his life as a Dad, the great parts of NZ, rugby picks for the year, and how all the truckies will radio in when they’ve seen a hot chick. We even stopped at a farm to pick up a few thousand litres of milk.

I texted my mate Sam Bound, a local surfer from Taranaki to see if he could pick me up in Inglewood and take me the last leg, “No worries Bro!”. I also texted the contest director Ben Kennings to see the start time of my heat and much to my joy he responded the contest wasn’t starting till 9.30. Yew!

Sam and I arrived at the contest at 9.30am and I had 2 hours until my heat. Mission accomplished.

The surf wasn’t what one would call pumping but there was a chest high clean wave rolling into the beach and getting better with the incoming tide. Although the late start was perfect for my arrival, it wasn’t for the waves and the onshore wind came up before long and quickly deteriorated the clean lines into ruffled peaks. However, it remained surfable and heats were banged out in all of the divisions; Stand Up Paddle, over 40s, over 50s, Open men, Junior men and Women. In my first heat in the Open mens I struggled to find the waves I wanted but did manage to pick off one good wave that cemented me second place and a spot in the quarterfinal.

Ambrose McNeill in the first heat of the Open division Photo: Guy Rencher

Hanging out in-between the heats is often the best part of going to contests. Surfing is such a cool way to connect with people and I’ve made a bunch of rad friends from going to these events.

It’s fun just hanging out with everyone and lying about all the perfect barrels each of our home breaks has had in the last few weeks.
Hyundai sets up a massive covered deck with couches and umbrellas which is all really flash. I think it’s really for the corporate sponsors but the surfers always invade it and claim it as their fortress. There’s always a mean barby making burgers and sausages which is the perfect pre-comp meal for any good athlete.

At the end of the day I surfed my quarter final narrowly getting 3rd so was knocked out of the event. Despite the bumpy little waves there was some awesome surfing going on in all division in the early rounds.

On day 2 of the event the action really started to heat up, as did the sausages. The surf had cleaned up again and the sun was blazing and stayed like that all day. I got to surf in the ‘log’ division where surfers have to ride traditional heavily weighted single fin boards. The division is pretty much a free for all, the contestants are all sent out at once for half an hour and places are determined by who stood out for that whole session.

The stand out of the session was hands down Moti Proctor from Gisborne. It was one of Moti’s first surfs after being out of the water for a long period with injury. Moti’s style was unbeatable -surfing a 14 foot board in a pair of speedo’s. Moreover, on every wave he caught Moti would perform a series of manoeuvres that I have never seen in surfing. No one came close in style or originality but as is the subjective nature of surfing Moti was overlooked by the judges and robbed of a place on the podium. I had a bunch of fun waves in the heat and in the end was awarded second place which I was stoked on.

Moti Proctor, a true legend Photo: CPL
The Open final was really impressive and showed how high the standard of performance long boarding is in NZ. Thomas Kibblewhite from Auckland showed why he has qualified for the world champs this year by dominating the final.

Prize giving was wrapped up and then that was it. I said good-bye to all my North Island buddies and then hopped in a strangers car (nah, just jokes, thanks Brian and Branko) to Auckland were I got the last standby flight home to Christchurch.

Thanks to the Keppa family, Mumud, Paul the milk truck man, Ant McColl, Sam Bound, Brain Western and Branko, Mickey T and everyone else for all helping me out on the trip! You’re all rad.

Also thank you to Sadhana Surfboards for making me such awesome aquatic machines, CPL and Guy for letting me use the cool photos and to Seventhwave for the Retro Jacket that kept me toasty in Taranaki’s surprisingly 'chilly water.'

A full list of results from the event can be seen at

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