New Zealand take ISA Trophee event at World Surfing Games

New Zealand take ISA Trophee event at World Surfing Games

Team New Zealand, the eighth and final seeds for the ISA Trophee event at the 2002 Quiksilver ISA World Surfing Games, produced a stunning upset by clinching this prestigious ?relay? team event from under the noses of the more fancied surfing super powers in Durban today.

Contested by squads comprising three open men, a junior (U/18) man and one woman from the eight top seeded countries attending this ?Olympics? of surfing, the event requires coordinated team work and concentration, along with committed high quality surfing, traits that the New Zealanders proved they had in abundance.

In the ISA Trophee each surfer can ride three waves but must indicate which two will count towards the team total by throwing both hands into the air to ?claim? them. One designated ?power? surfer has all three rides counting and all 11 waves rides by the team must be completed within 60 minutes. After completing his / her complement of rides, team members leave the water and have to ?tag? the next rider before he / she may enter the surf.

Competing in the first semi-final against top seeds Brazil, host nation South Africa and France, the team from the ?land of the long white cloud? started the one hour event with their three open surfers, Daniel Kereopa, Blair Stewart, who was designated the ?power? surfer, and Zennor Wernham, followed by junior Mark Dovey and ended with Lisa Hurunui.

Brazil got off to a flyer with Jean de Silva and the impressive Jihad Khodr racking up

8.0 point rides while South Africa notched up what appeared to be a comfortable second qualifying spot for the final when they finished their allotted rides with nearly five minutes to spare. However, Hurunui had other ideas and waited patiently for the best shaped waves in the one metre surf, eventually scoring the 5.9 points required to snatch the runner-up spot from the hosts, and making it back to the ?gateway? safely within the time limit.

The second semi went the way of Tahiti, with Spain surprisingly joining them in the final by relegating an under strength Australian team to third place while Hawaii trailed in fourth.

The final wasn?t even close and despite Hurunui only amassing 1.47 points for her two rides combined, the New Zealanders returned to the beach triumphant with Spain 5.36 points behind in second, followed by Brazil two points further back and Tahiti only completing 9 rides.

New Zealand are also well placed to improve on their 9th place finish in the 2000 world surfing games in Brazil in the overall team standings here. Wernham in the open men, Hurunui in the women and Hamish Christophers, who will contest the grand final of the kneeboard on Saturday, are all still in the hunt for the gold medal in their individual disciplines.

Glassy, windless conditions provided the canvas for high performance surfing as the open men were reduced to the final 12 and the women to the last 16. Khodr, the Brazilian teenager competing in the open men produced a spectacular ride on the wave of the day, a three footer that walled up right across North Beach, when he powerfully carved a trio of bottom turn / off the top combinations before boosting his board into the air over a 10 metre section of white water which he effortlessly rounded and continued to jam in two more turns before finishing with a vertical re-entry.

He was rewarded with 9.33 points by the judges, the highest scoring ride of the day, taking him from third place into first in the heat and a passage directly into the winner?s stream final. Fellow Brazilian Bruno Moreira picked up second place with his last ride to join his compatriot. Travis Logie (SAfr), who has gone undefeated throughout the first seven days of competition, and Hira Teriinatoofa (Tah) placed first and second respectively in the first heat of the round to also qualify for the last four of the winner?s stream.

Marie Pierree Abgraal (France), Chelsea Georgeson (Aus), Tamarys Walters (SAfr) and Pru Jeffries (Aus) are the four who have qualified for the winners stream final in the women?s surfing, where there are still 12 competitors battling through the repecharge rounds.

Saturday sees the staging of the Women?s bodyboard, kneeboard and longboard grand finals, with the former packaged for TV and the latter two broadcast live to the African continent on M-Net and SuperSport 1 between 1pm and 3pm South African time.

The 2002 Quiksilver ISA World Surfing Games, presented by the Gateway Theatre of Shopping and hosted by the City of Durban, concludes on Sunday with the grand finals of the men?s bodyboarding, juniors, women and open men, with the medals and the IOC Presidents trophy for the winning team presented at the awards ceremony on North Beach at approximately 3.30 pm.