Nationally Ranked Kiwi Surfer Jailed

As reported on

A nationally ranked surfer has been jailed for two months on a total of nine charges, including drunk driving and driving while disqualified.

Matthew Poynter, 21, a roofer, pleaded guilty in Westport District Court to two charges of driving while disqualified, one of drink driving, one of giving false details to police and two of intentional damage.

Poynter, of Westport, was also convicted of two charges of breaching community work and one of breaching supervision.

Prosecutor Al Manco said Poynter had smashed a window, cutting his arm, and broken two windows with a beer bottle during an argument with a man at a Westport house on November 28.

Poynter had been disqualified from driving but was caught behind the wheel in Christchurch on August 25. When stopped by police he recorded a breath alcohol reading of 546mcg, well above the legal limit of 400mcg. He also gave a false name.

He owed $35,000 in outstanding fines and had previously not complied with community work orders.

A probation report recommended Poynter go to prison.

Duty solicitor Doug Taffs said Poynter welcomed, to some extent, the recommendation. Poynter’s fines were “insurmountable”, he said.

Mr Taffs said Poynter was ranked ninth in New Zealand for surfing and his sponsors were willing to take him on again when he came out of prison.

Judge Christopher Somerville cancelled Poynter’s community work sentences and ordered $30,000 be remitted from his fines.

As an incentive to stop offending, his remaining fines would be reviewed when he got out of prison.

“Next year it will be all gone and you can get on with your life.”