Stairmand continues to impress as he chases ninth national title

Raglan’s Billy Stairmand in action in the open men’s semifinals at the national surfing...
Raglan’s Billy Stairmand in action in the open men’s semifinals at the national surfing championships near Westport yesterday. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Eight-time champion Billy Stairmand has continued his impressive run at the national championships near Westport.

The Raglan surfer put on a clinic in the open men’s quarterfinals and, while the semifinals were to come, it seemed they would be a formality to find his opponents in the final.

He was to face off against Raglan’s Caleb Cutmore, Taranaki’s Daniel Farr and Piha’s Zen Wallis in his semifinal, with the top two to advance to the final.

Cutmore is the only goofy-footer in the four and will look to accentuate that point of difference in his semifinal after looking sharp in his
heat.

Cutmore is searching for his first finals berth at the championships, as is Zen Wallis.

The second semifinal consists of Levi Stewart (Waihi Beach), Jay Piper-Healion (Whitianga), Reuben Woods (Mount Maunganui) and local Jai Earnshaw.

The match up has been touted as the young bucks against the seniors, both Earnshaw and Woods having contested multiple senior age-group heats as well as the open men’s division.

The semifinalists in the open women’s division take on a youthful look with five of the six surfers in their teenage years.

Raglan’s Brie Bennett is the oldest at 18 with Whangamata’s Pia Rogers being the youngest at 15.

The five surfers will take on 31-year-old Paige Hareb (Taranaki).

Hareb continued to impress on day three, surfing to a 15.8 point total on the way to a an excellent heat win, advancing alongside Ava Henderson (Christchurch), who finished second.

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