For the first time this year our two top internationally ranked surfers will be in attendance at the event with Thomas Kibblewhite (Auck) returning from Canada and Wini Paul (Sandy Bay) available to contest her local event.
Kibblewhite and Paul have qualified for the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Longboard Championship later this year for their respective male and female divisions. They will be the first Kiwi surfers to contest the event since 2003 when Michael Thomson (Rag) secured a wildcard to compete at the event held at Raglan. Both Kibblewhite and Paul will add some flair to what has already been a marvellous start to the tour.
Kibblewhite placed third at the Sandy Bay event in 2012 when it was part of the ASP Australasia Longboard Qualifying Series, a result that set up his run for World Championship qualification. Paul won the Women's Division of the same event.
Runaway ratings leader in the Men's Longboard Division, Daniel Procter (Gis) is unable to attend this weekend's showdown. His absence will open up the Hyundai Tour ratings race to the likes of runner up at the National Championships Ant McColl (Mnt) and fourth and fifth ranked surfers Matt Cockayne and Phil Morris both of Auckland. Undefeated after two events this year, Procter can only be passed by three surfers. Both Cockayne and Morris need to win the event to pass Procter on the ratings while McColl needs a runner up finish to move into the number one position.
Women's Division ratings leader Mischa Davis (Piha) is also absent from competition this weekend. Like Procter, Davis has won the first two events of the year extending a healthy lead over her opponents. However with summer school nearing an end, Davis has had to remain in Auckland to complete her studies.
After the crowd-pleasing 'Logger' Expression Session took place at the first event of the tour held at Raglan earlier this month, the traditionalists will be back at it again at Sandy Bay. Restricted to 'old school' longboards with single fins, surfers will be battling for an extended prize pool awarded to the best two surfers of the session as well as the surfer who completed the best nose ride. Ambrose McNeill (Chch) claimed first place over Daryn McBride at the first event.
The Sandy Bay leg of the Hyundai Tour is the northern most nationally sanctioned surfing event in the country. The event being three days in duration also makes room for the Over 60 Men's Division with the older surfers eager to be part of the fun. Orewa's Paul Browne claimed the title in 2012.
This weekend's event also marks the first time a long distance stand up paddleboard race will be held as part of the tour. Paddlers will complete a 10km coastal run on the Saturday with interest in the race building from a number of paddlers. This will be complemented by the shorter 'King of the Waves' race contested through the Sandy Bay line up which will be held on Sunday.
The exceptional run of swell on the East Coast of the North Island is expected to continue into the weekend with a 2.0m northeast swell expected to peak early on Friday before decreasing through the three days of surfing.
Please see below for the current ratings leaders after two of five events on the 2013 Hyundai Tour as well as the defending event champions from 2012.
Men's Longboard Top 10
1, Daniel Proctor (Gis)
2, Ant McColl (Mnt)
3, Dylan Barnfield (Ohope)
4, Matt Cockayne (Mngwhai)
5, Phil Morris (Auck)
6, Ben Poulter (Rag)
7, Glen Johnson (Auck)
8, Jamie Andrews (Waitara)
9, Duncan Cameron (Mnt)
10, Zen Wallis (Piha)
Women's Longboard Top 5
1, Mischa Davis (Oratia)
2, Belinda Goodwin (Mt)
3, Alexis Poulter (Rag)
4, Ann Snyder (Tau)
5, Josephine Moore (Tara)
Junior Longboard Top 5
1, Sam Poulter (Rag)
2, Jordan Griffin (Mnt)
3, Josh Taylor (Tau)
4, Elliot Paerata-Ried (Piha)
5, Samuel Sands (ChCh)
Over 40 Longboard Top 5
1, Craig Anderson (Mnt)
2, Guy Rencher (Waihi Bch)
3, Justin Bambery (Auck)
4, Andy Collins (Mnt)
5, James Atutahi (Maketu)
Over 50 Longboard Top 5
1, Mike Thomson (Rag)
2, David Storck (Auck)
3, Mark Hoyle (Orewa)
4, Rupert Newbold (Whngrei)
5, Ben Hutchings (Gis)
Stand Up Paddle Board Top 5
1, Daniel Kereopa (Rag)
2, Armie Armstrong (Rag)
3, Shayne Baxter (ChCh)
4, Karlos Aarsen (Whmata)
5, Darren Jones (Auck)
Stand Up Paddleboard Race Top 5
1, Armie Armstrong (Rag)
2, Shayne Baxter (ChCh)
3, Daniel Kereopa (Rag)
4, Jeremy Stephenson (Auck)
5, Shane Murrell (Auck)
Defending Event Champions
Men's Longboard - Taylor Jensen (USA)
Junior Longboard - Nic Jones (Aus)
Women's Longboard - Wini Paul (Sandy Bay)
Over 40 Men's Longboard - Brian Young (Orewa)
Over 50 Men's Longboard - Mark Hoyle (Orewa)
Over 60 Men's Longboard - Paul Browne (Orewa)
Stand Up Paddleboard - Daniel Kereopa (Rag)
Stand Up Paddleboard Race - Armie Armstrong (Rag)
Overall the Hyundai Tour boasts $12,000 in prize money which is boosted to $20,000 with another $8,000 distributed to boardrider clubs and community groups at locations the tour frequents.
Hyundai have teamed up with Global Surf Industries and Starboard to provide boards to raffle off at each event location. All proceeds from this weekend's raffles go back to North Coast Boardriders Club to help develop surfing in the region.
The remaining events for the 2013 Hyundai Tour follows:
Hyundai Tour Event 3, 1-3 February, Sandy Bay (4-star)
Hyundai Tour Event 4, 16-17 February, Fitzroy Beach, New Plymouth (4-star)
Hyundai Tour Event 5, 1-2 March, Mount Maunganui (4-star)
Entry into the events can be completed at Surfing New Zealand under "events." Entry into each event closes on the Monday prior to the event commencing. Complete the entry process online or download entry forms and send them in.
For further information on the 2013 Hyundai Tour please contact Surfing New Zealand's Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org