2011 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Champion Taylor Jensen (USA) today (Monday 6th February) showed why he is the best in the business with a near perfect performance in the final of the ASP Open Men's Division of the Hyundai Tour event at Sandy Bay, Whangarei, New Zealand.
Jensen's opening ride was a near flawless 9.0 out of 10 and the smooth natural footer linked a long 'hang ten' nose ride with a number of fin-waft re-entries to take the lead in the heat held in 1.0m - 1.5m waves.
Jensen's second top scoring ride saw him complete a similar display of fins free re-entries and nose rides to combine for a final score of 17.35 out of a possible 20 points.
This was Jensen's second victory at Sandy Bay and he was obviously stoked on his win.
Hot on Jensen's heels was young Australian star Mitch Surman (Australia) who locked in a 16.50 point heat score, needing only an 8.86 score to move into the lead.
Surman's highest scoring ride had the crowd on their feet and the Australian camp was screaming in support. Unfortunately the ocean went quiet in the dying minutes of the final and Surman was left to take second place behind close friend Jensen. Both surfers were surfing for valuable ASP Australasia Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) points, which will ultimately see them qualify for the ASP World Longboard Tour.
The sole Kiwi in the Open Men's final was Thomas Kibblewhite (Orewa) who despite surfing his best heat in the event, couldn't match the scores of Surman and Jensen. Kibblewhite put on a powerful display and solidified his placing at the top of the 2012 domestic Hyundai Tour ratings after three of five events.
Australian surfer Jared Neal placed fourth in the final.
Earlier in the semifinals, the upset of the day was the exit of 2010 Australian Open Champion Dane Pioli (Australia) beaten by 0.45 points by Kibblewhite. Pioli surfed a great heat finishing third with a combined heat total of 12.35 points in the semifinal, ahead of day three standout Ben Dickens (Australia) in fourth place. In the second of the semifinals young Nic Jones (Australia) couldn't repeat his earlier form placing third, with the other remaining Kiwi Matt Cockayne (Mangawhai) placing fourth.
Despite the loss in the open Men's Division, Nic Jones (Australia) set an unreal standard in the highly competitive Junior Men's Division for an easy victory. Local favourite Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata) stamped his mark on the final with a top scoring 6.0 point ride, linking a smooth round house cutback with a long nose ride through to the inside. However, it was young Sunshine Coast surfer Jones who dominated the encounter from start to finish.
Jones highest scoring ride, an 8.5 out 10, saw him smash a number of vertical re-entries and round house cutbacks linked with some crisp nose riding. Jones, who is also a competitor on the ASP Australasian Pro Junior Series for shortboards, showed the same form that saw him win event one of the Hyundai Tour at Raglan at the start of January. Jones finished with a combined heat score of 15.17 ahead of Moretti with 11.73.
In third place was Sam Poulter (Raglan) whose powerful backhand attack saw him hot on the heels of Moretti. Poulter rounded out the heat with an 11.10 total ahead of young Luke Crouch (Orewa) in fourth with 5.37 out of 20.
Local favourite Wini Paul (Sandy Bay) stormed to her first victory of the 2012 Hyundai Tour beating young Australian Sam Suendermann (Australia) in the dying minutes of final. Paul, who was trailing Suendermann for most of the heat, scored a 7.0 ride securing the win.
The crowd were ecstatic for Paul who dedicated the win to all of the locals that supported her during the event. "I am so stoked to win at home. Thanks to all the local crew from the North Coast Boardriders, and especially my whanau for supporting me" she said.
Paul finished the heat with an 11.77 combined heat score ahead of Suendermann on 10.87. Molly Powell (Australia) managed to pick off a number of low scoring rides with her best a 4.83, backed up with a 4.0. Powell finished in third place ahead of Ann Snyder (Tauranga) in fourth with a total heat score of 4.40.
Brian Young (Orewa) stormed to another victory in the Over 40 Men's Division winning easily. Young, who admitted yesterday to struggling in the mixed-bag of conditions, scored a 7.33 on his opening ride, backing it up with a 6.33 and keeping his opponents combo'd for the entire heat. "Yesterday was hard work, but today it felt good out there. I am stoked on my win" he said.
Guy Rencher (Papamoa) surfed well in his maiden final in 2012 finishing in second place with a combined heat score of 9.10, ahead of Tatana Heke (Mount Maunganui) in third and Rhys Powell (Omaha) in fourth.
Brian Young (Orewa) now takes the lead in the 2012 Hyundai Tour - Over 40 Men's Division after his win at Raglan in event one. Young will no doubt be amping for event four at Mount Maunganui in a few weeks time.
The Over 50 Men's Division saw an intense tussle between 2011 Hyundai Tour Champion Mike Thomson (Raglan) and new comer Mark Hoyle (Orewa). Thomson is a veteran competitor and showed his experience scoring some solid six point plus rides.
But it was the former South African Veteran's Champion who picked off a long right hander scoring a 7.43 taking the lead half way through the final. Hoyle did a long, driving soul arch bottom turn finishing off the wave with a big vertical re-entry. From this point on the other surfers in the heat were playing catch-up. Hoyle ended the heat with a combined wave score of 14.26 out of 20. "That wave seemed to go forever. I was pretty happy to get some good rides. It was a lot of hard work out there, I'm absolutely shattered" he said after the completion of the final. Grant Cochrane (Christchurch) managed one 6.33 scoring ride, but came unstuck on a couple of critical turns, placing third ahead of David Storck (Auckland) in fourth place.
A late start to the day didn't hinder Paul Browne (Orewa) from scoring some great long right-handers in the straight final of the Over 60 Men's Division. Browne's top scoring ride, a 5.0 saw him take an early lead in the heat, and after backing it up with a 4.37, his opponents couldn't catch up. Browne, who celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary this weekend, thanked his wife for her continued support during his long competitive surfing career. Fellow Orewa Longboard Club member Rob Bayes (Orewa) showed some good form in the final picking off a solid set wave to score a 4.33 but couldn't manage the 5.24 required to take the lead finishing in second place. Only 0.20 points separated third from fourth place and it was Dave Gould (Auck) who eventually beat local surfer Laurie Landgridge (Sandy Bay) who finished in fourth place.
Daniel Kereopa (Raglan) smashed his opponents out of the water to win his second event of the 2012 Hyundai Tour in the Stand Up Paddleboard Division. Current National Champion Shayne Baxter (Christchurch) had the initial lead with a couple of great scoring rides. But Kereopa stole the lead mid-way through the heat with a barnstorming 7.33 ride, following it up with a 7.73 to win the final.
Kereopa, who is a Hyundai Ambassador, showed the form that has seen him win multiple events since the SUP Division was introduced to the Tour.
Baxter was in catch-up mode for the remainder of the final, finishing out with an 11.36 combined heat score. Third place went to Armie Armstrong (Raglan) ahead of Karlos Aarsen (Whangamata).
ASP Open Men's LQS Final Results:
1st Taylor Jensen (USA) 17.35, 2nd Mitch Surman (Australia) 16.50, 3rd Thomas Kibblewhite 14.20, 4th Jared Neal (Australia) 11.85
Junior Men's Final Results:
1st Nic Jones (Australia) 15.17, 2nd Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata) 11.73, 3rd Sam Poulter (Raglan) 11.10, 4th Luke Crouch (Orewa) 5.37
Open Women's Final Results:
1st Wini Paul (Sandy Bay) 11.77, 2nd Sam Suendermann (Australia) 10.87, 3rd Molly Powell (Australia) 8.83, 4th Ann Snyder (Tauranga) 4.40
Over 40 Men's Division Final Results:
1st Brian Young (Orewa) 13.66, 2nd Guy Rencher (Papamoa) 9.10, 3rd Tatana Heke (Mount Maunganui) 7.66, 4th Rhys Powell (Omaha) 7.13
Over 50 Men's Final Results:
1st Mark Hoyle (Orewa) 14.26, 2nd Mike Thompson (Raglan) 12.77, 3rd Grant Cochrane (Christchurch) 9.06, 4th David Storck (Piha) 6.80
Over 60 Men's Final Results:
1st Paul Browne (Orewa) 9.57, 2nd Rob Bayes (Orewa) 8.10, 3rd Dave Gould (?) 5.40, 4th Laurie Landgridge (Sandy Bay) 5.20
SUP Final Results:
1st Daniel Kereopa (Raglan) 15.06, 2nd Shayne Baxter (Christchurch) 11.36, 3rd Armie Armstrong (Raglan) 7.17, 4th Karlos Aarsen (Whangamata) 7.03
The 2012 Hyundai Tour travels to Raglan, Piha, Sandy Bay and Mount Maunganui before the season concludes at Port Waikato in early March. Overall the Hyundai Tour boasts $20,000 in prize money.
The remaining events for the 2012 Hyundai Tour follow:
Hyundai Tour Event 4, 18-19 February, Mount Maunganui (4-star)
Hyundai Tour Event 5, 2-3 March, Port Waikato (6-star)
Entry into all events can be completed at Surfing New Zealand under "events." Complete the entry process online or download entry forms and send them in. The 2012 Hyundai Tour is expected to receive high entry levels at each location, so entries will need to be in well before the cut off dates to assure participants get a