2010 will mark the tenth anniversary for the Rip Curl Pro held at Raglan's famous Manu Bay. The event is set to take place this weekend from the 26th - 28th of February and features the best surfers New Zealand has to offer.
Although the event has run for more than 15 years with co naming rights sponsors, 2010 marks the tenth year in which the event has stood on its own as a Rip Curl event. The event is the third of five events on the 2009/10 Export Gold Series.
To mark this milestone this year's winner of the Open Men's Division will receive return flights to Bali, an entry to compete in the Rip Curl Padang Cup Invitational event along with the $3,000 NZD cash prize!
The Rip Curl Padang Cup has been best described as a gathering of the top tube riders in the world at the best barrel in Bali. In 2009 the Rip Curl Padang Cup was contested by some of the biggest names in international surfing including Jamie O'Brien, Luke Egan, Ry Craike, Bruno Santos, Laurie Towner, Dean Brady and Rizal Tanjung to name just a few.
This year will be the first year a Kiwi will compete in this prestigious event. "It will be great to have a Kiwi in an international event such as the Rip Curl Padang Cup" commented Surfing New Zealand's Ben Kennings. "The event suits the Kiwi's, the event having a long waiting period and only being contested in the best waves on offer".
The man to beat at this year's Rip Curl Pro-Raglan is 2008 and 2009's event winner Billy Stairmand (Rag). The talented young natural footer hails from Raglan and will no doubt be looking to back up his winning form and make it three wins in a row at the event.
Hot on the heels of Stairmand will be Export Gold Series current ratings leader Maz Quinn (Gis) along with World Qualifying Series campaigners Richard Christie (Gis) and Jay Quinn (Gis), Raglan local surfers Luke Cederman and Leon Santorik as well as a long list of the best competitive surfers in New Zealand.
2009's Rip Curl Pro Open Women's division winner Jessica Santorik (Rag) will be looking to increase her lead on the Export Gold Series ratings over fellow Raglan local Alexis Poulter. Santorik will be tough to beat having already won back to back events this year as she's no stranger to the long lefthanders Manu Bay serves up so well.
Rip Curl Team rider and Junior Division ratings leader Johnny Hicks will be looking to cement his number one position this weekend. The stylish goofy footer will be full of confidence having won the Billabong Pro at Whangamata only weeks ago. The two time Rip Curl GromSearch National winner has proved he's got what it takes to take out this year's Under 20 Division.
'Its going to be mean, I love Manu Bay and it looks like there should be swell for the comp so I'm frothing" commented Hicks.
The Rip Curl Pro will also play host to the National GromSearch Final. The final will be contested by eight of New Zealand's top Under 16 surfers from around the country. Each of the finalists qualified for the final by placing first or second at one of the 2009 GromSearch events.
Piha's Tane Wallis will be looking to make a statement at the National Final after winning a clean sweep in the U16 Boys division in the GromSearch Series while Raglan's Alexis Poulter from Raglan will be looking for a win in the Girls Under 16 Final. Poulter finished her U16 competitive career on a high winning the Piha event in December and the overall Under 16 ratings for 2009.
Winners of the National GromSearch will each receive an all expense paid trip to compete at the International GromSearch Final held as part of this year's World Championship Tour event the Rip Curl Pro at Bell's Beach, Australia in April.
The Kiwi Surf Boost for Cash Airshow is back for 2010 rewarding one lucky free surfer with a cheque for $500. However, this years event has a twist as the Airshow is filmed and edited and put on New Zealand's leading surf forecasting website surf2surf enabling the public to jump online and vote for the winner. The winner will be decided solely by the public as there will be no onsite judging for this specialty event.
The Rip Curl Pro is a six star rated event on the Export Gold Series with $12,000 in prize money on offer.
See below for the top surfers on the Export Gold Series after two of five events. For full ratings, go to www.surfingnz.co.nz.
Open Men's Division Top 16
1 Maz Quinn (Gis)
2 Chris Malone (Gis)
3 Gauranga Ormond (Wgm)
5 Leon Santorik (Rag)
5 Tim O'Connor (Mnt)
6 Tane Wallis (Piha)
7 Paco Divers (Sandy Bay)
8 Nick White (Mnt)
9 Keone Campbell (Tara)
10 Ben Kennings (Rag)
11 Bodhi Whittaker (Gis)
12 Dane Simpson (Gis)
13 Bobby Hansen (Gis)
14 Sean Peggs (Tairua)
15 Jarred Hancox (Tara)
16 Jay Quinn (Gis)
Open Women's Division Top Six
1 Jessica Santorik (Rag)
2 Alexis Poulter (Rag)
3 Rosa Thompson (Akld)
4 Jayda Martin-Fitzharris (Gis)
5 Ella Williams (Wgm)
6 Grace Spiers (Wgm)
Under 20 Men's Top 6
1 Johnny Hicks (Gis)
2 Sean Peggs (Tairua)
3 Ryan Hawker (Piha)
4 Blake Myers (Wgm)
5 Ben Poulter (Rag)
6 JC Susan (Mnt)
Rip Curl GromSearch National Finalists
Tane Wallis (Piha)
Patxi Scott-Arrieta (Sandy Bay)
Dune Kennings (WGM)
Todd Doyle (Mnt)
Alexis Poulter (Rag)
Grace Spiers (Wgm)
Rosa Thompson (Akld)
Jayda Martin-Fitzharris (Gis)
Source: Surfing New Zealand