After two successful Tour stops prior to Sandy Bay, competitors in the Open Men's kicked off the action on day one surfing through to the semifinal round. They made the most of the big surf with improving high tide conditions for the quarterfinals.
In an all Bay of Plenty affair it was the veteran Barnes (Mnt) who absolutely smashed his way to victory in the quarterfinal scoring the highest combined heat score of the day with a 15.43 out of a possible 20 points.
Barnes scored a 7.83 point ride early in the heat, and in the dying minutes of his heat he stamped his authority on the match up surfing a long winding righthander all the way to the beach scoring a 7.6 point ride.
"My strategy was to not bash my way out through the middle of the beach and hug the Cove and pick off some good, long runners. The conditions are really tough out there so I am glad I stuck my plan and it worked. I am stoked!" said Barnes.
In the final heat of the round Thomas Kibblewhite (Orewa) and Daniel Kereopa (Raglan) surfed in the clash of the day. Kibblewhite, who has been absent for the first two events of the Hyundai Tour and Kereopa also contesting his first event of the year left nothing to the imagination as to why they are both back and dominating.
Kibblewhite, who was the 2012 National Champion and 2012 Hyundai Tour winner, made up for lost time belting the single highest wave's score of the day, an 8.33 out of 10.
Kibblewhite picked off a solid right hander and linked a number of huge turns with some stylish noseriding, showing his trademark confidence in the challenging waves, winning the heat with a combined heat score of 14.16 out of 20.
Kereopa (Rag) also showed he is a real contender at Sandy Bay with his superior wave selection. Kereopa, a former Hyundai Tour Champion himself (2007) and current Stand Up Paddleboard National Champion, showed he continues to be no slouch on any craft he chooses to apply his skills to.
Also winning their way through to the final eight surfers in the semifinals were Zen Wallis (Piha) and number one seed at the event Ant McColl (Mnt)
Wallis along with Northland local Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata) eliminated one of the pre event favourites Phil Morris (Auck). With less than two minutes remaining in the heat, Moretti paddled into a solid 2.0m right hander and after a long floater he bashed a big closeout re-entry to secure the score required for second place and move Morris into third position, with Justin Bambery (Auckland) in fourth
McColl won a close low scoring heat over Matt Cockayne who progressed in second place ahead of Sam Bradford (Auck) in third and Ambrose McNeil (Chch) in fourth.
"It's pretty hard work out there. The waves today remind me heaps of Clyde Street back at home in the Mount. I'm stoked to be through to the semifinals as I want a good result to back up my second placing at Piha" said McColl.
McColl, who is currently ranked second on the 2013 Hyundai Tour, will be looking for a podium finish to solidify his spot in the race for the title. A runner up placing or better will see him take the lead on the ratings.
Day one also saw the completion of the first round of the Stand Up Paddleboard Division. The dropping tide and onshore winds did little to make for a spectacle or high scoring rides.
Shaan Miller (Auckland) managed to take out his heat ahead of Bevan Gooch (Pauanui) who snapped his leash and had to paddle in through atrocious conditions before securing second place. Shane Murrell (Auck) and Rob Hawkins progressed through the other heat contested on day one. All surfers progressed through to the quarterfinals where they will meet the top seeds in the division.
Conditions are forecast to be similar for day two of the event (Saturday 2nd February) with strong easterly onshore winds and swell holding in the 1.5m-2.0m size range.
Please see below for results from day one of the Sandy Bay leg of the 2013 Hyundai Tour held today Friday 1st February.
Men's Longboard Round 1
Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata), 13.6, 1, Sam Bradford (Pakiri), 9, 2, Bevan Gooch (Auck), 8.83, 3
Ambrose McNeil (ChCh), 12, 1, Justin Bambery (Auck), 7.2, 2, James Schedwy (Auck), 4.3, 3, Steve Tyro (Chch), 1.97, 4
Craig Anderson (Mnt), 10.3, 1, Kayne Duncan (Port Wai), 8.23, 2, David Rae (Auck), 5.57, 3
Daniel Kereopa (Rag), 12, 1, Jordan Griffin (Mnt), 9.1, 2, Branko Vela (Auck), 1.73, 3
Men's Longboard Quarterfinals
Zen Wallis (Piha), 14.2, 1, Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata), 11, 2, Phil Morris (Auck), 10.3, 3, Justin Bambery (Auck), 9.23, 4
Ant McColl (Mnt), 9.97, 1, Matt Cockayne (Mngwhai), 9.07, 2, Sam Bradford (Pakiri), 8.47, 3, Ambrose McNeil (ChCh), 7.13, 4
Owen Barnes (Mnt), 15.4, 1, Duncan Cameron (Mnt), 8.43, 2, Craig Anderson (Mnt), 8.2, 3, Jordan Griffin (Mnt), 7.2, 4
Thomas Kibblewhite (Auck), 14.2, 1, Daniel Kereopa (Rag), 12.4, 2, Glen Johnson (Auck), 6.23, 3, Kayne Duncan (Port Wai), 5.9, 4
Men's Longboard Semifinals (yet to be surfed)
Zen Wallis (Piha), Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata), Ant McColl (Mnt), Matt Cockayne (Mngwhai)
Owen Barnes (Mnt), Duncan Cameron (Mnt), Thomas Kibblewhite (Auck), Daniel Kereopa (Rag)
Stand Up Paddleboard Round 1
Annabel Anderson (Auck), 2, 1, Phillip Morris (Auck), 1, 2, Mark Houghton (Auck), N/S
Shaan Miller (Auck), 5.43, 1, Bevan Gooch (Pauanui), 4.47, 2, Deon Boonzaier (Auck), 0.57, 3
Adam Bouzaid (Huntly), 2, 1, Tony Young (Dun), N/S, Simon Shepheard (Auck), N/S
Shane Murrell (Auck), 8.83, 1, Rob Hawkins (Rag), 5.83, 2, Charlie Bush (Auck), 3.63, 3
Stand Up Paddleboard Quarterfinals (yet to be surfed)
Jeremy Stephenson (Auck), Maria Kingi (Piha), Annabel Anderson (Auck), Bevan Gooch (Pauanui)
Shayne Baxter (ChCh), Karlos Aarsen (Whmata), Shaan Miller (Auck), Phillip Morris (Auck)
Daniel Kereopa (Rag), Mike Cann (Auck), Adam Bouzaid (Huntly), Rob Hawkins (Rag)
Armie Armstrong (Rag), Darren Jones (Auck), Shane Murrell (Auck)
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 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 email@example.com