Rust Shows Home Crowd How It's Done
Pre-event predictions proved correct on day one of the third event of the Hyundai Pro Longboard Tour held at St Clair Beach, Dunedin today (Saturday 20th February) with local surfer Leroy Rust dominating proceedings on his way to the semifinals of the Open Men's Division.
Day one saw some great waves in the 1.0m - 1.5m range with light winds at St Clair Beach. The good conditions gave the surfers plenty of opportunity to show their form in front of the Dunedin crowds that packed the elevated Esplanade.
Rust surfed to a 14.0 point heat total in his quarterfinal to better the number one seed at the event - Dylan Barnfield (Ohope). Rust looked relaxed in his performance maximising his opportunities on the lefthanders that peeled into the corner of the beach.
The heat was a high scoring affair with number one seed Barnfield posting 13.00 out of a possible 20 to also move through the heat eliminating Michael Kibblewhite (Auck) and Troy Scott (ChCh).
Rust and Barnfield will now face Shayne Baxter (ChCh) and Duncan Cameron (Mnt) in the first semifinal to be contested on Sunday morning.
Christchurch surfer Shayne Baxter has been in excellent form of recent and today he surfed to a 13.00 point heat total to move through to the semifinals eliminating Ant McColl (Mnt) and Steven Tyro (Chch).
The second semifinal sees fellow New Zealand surf representatives Thomas Kibblewhite (Auck) and Daniel Proctor (Gis) facing off against each other alongside Owen Barnes (Mnt) and Tom Owens (Chch).
Proctor is the defending national champion and won two events in 2009 so will be keen to press on to the final and get a good result in Dunedin. Kibblewhite is also looking for some form. Having made every final on the tour in 2009 he is no stranger to the latter stages of the events and will want to get a good result after placing 17th at Sandy Bay two weeks ago.
Daisy Thomas (Chch) highlighted the first round of the Women's Division posting a convincing win in her heat to advance to the semifinal where she will meet Sunny Yoshida (Rag) and Claire Norman (Aust). Shortboard converts Mischa Davis (Piha) and Alexis Poulter (Rag) will face off against Natasha Civil the lone Dunedin surfer remaining in the women's event in the second semifinal.
Late in the day the Over 40 Men's Division was surfed through to the final four surfers. Christchurch surfers dominated the division, three of the four finals slots going to the southern surfers. Paul Bennett was dominant all day making it through all of his heats in the Over 40 and Over 50 Divisions. Grant Cochrane and Steve Tyro join him to face off against the lone North Island surfer - Michael Thompson (Rag) who was the highest scoring surfer in the semifinals posting 10.75 to win his heat.
Source: Surfing New Zealand
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