The Logger Heads 5 - Traditional Longboard Surfing event went off in style at Waipu Cove over the Auckland Anniversary Weekend. Contest Director Tony Baker made a late call to shift from Mangawhai Heads to the iconic Northland surf beach after swell and wind conditions looked ideal for "The Pu". The event is into its 5th year and 2018 saw nearly 60 competitors across 5 divisions.
Surfers traveled from Mount Maunganui, Gisborne, Christchurch, Waihi, Auckland and closer to home Ruakaka, Orewa, Mangawhai and Waipu to compete. With the focus on style, and traditional surfing, the contest required surfers to ride boards 9ft plus in length, with no leash and only a single fin. The contest was run across two days, and surfers enjoyed clean 1.0m swell with light to moderate winds both days.
The Open Logger Division was hotly contested with some exceptional surfing going down in the early rounds. Jordan Griffin (Mount Maunganui) lead the charge along with a bevvy of young talent including Tom Mason (Auckland), Matt Newdick (Auckland), Guy Thompson (Mount Maunganui) and Rhys Whittaker (Waipu) . Former Single Fin Mingle winner Nic Todd (Christchurch) also made a strong impression, along with local shredder Glen Johnson (Mangawhai) and Auckland style master Paul Culpan (Auckland). In the Finals it was a close battle for the win, with all surfers getting some great nose rides and linking together some nice traditional turns. In the end it was young Matt Newdick (Auckland) taking the win. Newdick, who is the current NZ Under 18 Scholastic Longboard Champ, was a standout all weekend, and well deserving of the victory.
The Old Mal Division was equally as electric in nature, with some of the best surfing of the entire event taking place on Saturday afternoon. The boards, which are pre-1970s longboards, are heavy and challenging to surf at the best of times, but competitors made it look easy and timeless. With over 16 entries, the Old Mal a prestigious division in that most of the boards were nearly half a century in age. A stand out performance from start to finish by Mount Maunganui's Jordan Griffin saw him take the victory. Runner Up Paul Culpan (Auckland) also showed style and precision in the heats, along with Matt Newdick (Auckland) and Guy Edge (Gisborne).
2018 saw an ever increasing number of entries in the Women's Division, with a bevvy of lady sliders taking to the waves to show off their style. Local surfers Deanne Cleary (Waipu Cove) and Robyn Cox (Ruakaka) showed some excellent style in round one, along with Sabine "Beans" Baumgartner (Gisborne) .The events youngest competitor Charlie Barclay (Mangawhai) also enjoyed the fun waves on offer, along with the talented Louise Aitken (Auckland). In the final it was a close battle between "Beans" and 2017 winner Nicky Wellington (Auckland), and after a healthy exchange of waves it was Wellington who took her second Logger Heads title.
Another hotly contested division was the Junior Logger. Local Mangawhai surfer Taj Robinson caught some great waves over the weekend along with Joey Cox (Auckland) and last years winner Bassie Waldron (Auckland). Billy Whelan (Mangawhai Heads) also showed some excellent skills throughout the event. In the final it was Natt Fitt (Red Beach) who stole the show. Fitt, who is only 13, has been a regular at the event and it was obvious he's been putting time into his craft, as he showed excellent wave selection and nose riding skills, taking a well deserved victory.
This year saw the inclusion of a Master Division (Over 45 years) and didn't disappoint with the elder statesman of the sport putting on an excellent display of style and grace. Rhys Fitt (Red Beach) surfed well throughout the early rounds as did Stephen Sosich (Auckland) and Roger Hall (Ruakaka). A stand out performer was former South African Champ and Orewa local Mark Hoyle. In the finals Hoyle showed his full repertoire of switch foot surfing and speed turns. However, it was Orewa Longboard Club founder and Longboard Legend Paul Brown (Auckland) who claimed victory. Brown has been competing for over 3 decades and spends plenty of time based at Waipu Cove over the summer months. It was fitting that he should claim the maiden Logger Heads Masters win.
OFFICIAL RESULTS - 2018 Logger Heads 5
Open Logger Division: 1st Matt Newdick (Auckland) 2nd Paul Culpan (Auckland) 3rd Ant McColl (Mount Maunganui) 4th Jordan Griffin (Mount Maunganui) 5th Glen Johnson (Mangawhai) 6th Rhys Fitt (Red Beach)
Open Womens Logger: 1st Nicky Wellington (Auckland) 2nd Sabine Baumgartner (Gisborne) 3rd Deanne Cleary (Waipu Cove) 4th Robyn Cox (Ruakaka) 5th Charlie Barclay (Mangawhai)
Old Mal Division: 1st Jordan Griffin (Mount Maunganui) 2nd Paul Culpan (Auckland) 3rd Guy Edge (Gisborne) 4th Matt Newdick (Auckland) 5th Glen Johnson (Mangawhai Heads)
Junior Logger Division: 1st Natt Fitt (red Beach) 2nd Bassie Waldron (Mangawhai Heads) 3rd Joey Cox (Auckland) 4th Taj Robinson (Mangawhai Heads)
Masters Division: 1st Paul Browne (Orewa) 2nd Mark Hoyle (Auckland) 3rd Rhys Fitt (Red Beach) 4th Stephen Sosich (Auckland)
The event was made possible by the amazing support of the following people and businesses: Geoff Gwynne and the team at McLeods Brewery, Kyle and Ali from Threadbox Mangawhai, Kyle from Fin Shui, Steve Morris from Morris Surfboards NZ, Dave from Bammas and Roger Hall from Surfline Custom Surfboards. Also thanks Mark from Fresh Mangawhai.
To find out more, check out The Logger Heads FB Page HERE