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Tawharu, Farr claim surf titles at Te Arai

Elin winning action at the Te Arai Bach Classic
Elin winning action at the Aotearoa Surf Pro at Te Arai Beach PHOTO CPL.

Mt Maunganui's Elin Tawharu and Taranaki's Daniel Farr have won the titles at Te Arai Beach at the Aotearoa Surf Pro.

The Aotearoa Surf Pro is the fourth event on the 2024 NZ Surf Series and it is the first time the series has taken in the East Coast of Auckland. The final day of surfing was played out in 1.0m waves and moderate onshore winds that persisted all day, challenging top surfers from around the country.

Tawharu, 22 returned to the podium after a lengthy time out of the water due to injury and only having recently started back surfing.  However, the young Mt Maunganui surfer navigated her way through two rounds into the final before posting a 12.60 point heat total to win the Open Women’s Division.  

“I am absolutely frothing,” said Tawharu, still dripping wet post final.  “So stoked to be at this event and then to take the win was great,” she added.

It was a back and forth final with Tawharu posting 6.67 point ride to open her campaign and take the lead.  However, it was Leia Millar, the tenacious young Piha surfer that swung into action and held the lead for much of the final.  Tawharu found rhythm late to edge past Millar, pushing her down to second place and an eventual runner up finish.

“It was back and forth between Leia and I until the end and I was lucky I got the wave at the end to secure the win over the girls.  It is my first win since the Maori Nats in October last year, so I am super stoked, I have the buzz back and I am looking forward to more,” said Tawharu of the encounter.

Alani Morse (Raglan) finished third in the final with Aimee Brown (Great Barrier) returning to the competitive arena securing fourth place.

The Open Men’s Final capped off two tough days of competition with a high scoring encounter that saw Daniel Farr post a 17.34 heat total for the win.  His performance was bookended by a 9.17 point ride in the dying stages of the final for a big two turn combo, the highest score of the event.

“The nerves were there all weekend, seeing the guys you were coming up against.  But going into the finals I felt a bit more prepared than the first heats.  And at the start, that first wave popped up for me perfectly then I got that good one at the end to finish it off,” said Farr.

 “Great to back up from the win at the National Champs in January but it actually didn’t come easy.  It is always tough coming up against the likes of Caleb and Billy and all the top guys, I am glad we were all here to make it a good challenge this weekend,” said Farr who is three-from-three in national events that he has entered in the past 12 months.

“It is awesome to get up here and see this part of the country and have an event somewhere new.  And we got some waves today, not the best, bit onshore but heaps of fun” added Farr who will base himself in Australia later this month. 

It was Raglan’s Caleb Cutmore that pushed Farr until the end of the final, especially when he locked in an 8.5 point ride.  With one chance remaining, Cutmore scouted the line up and got a wave in the dying minutes but posted a 6.37 point ride, short of the 8.85 points required for the win.

Jack Hinton (Mt Maunganui) edged his way into third place on the final buzzer pushing Taranaki surfer Spencer Rowson back to fourth place after both surfers showed their talent in the earlier rounds to make the final.

Earlier in the day Rowson and Farr eliminated Billy Stairmand (Raglan) and Jackson Peak (Auckland) in the first semifinal while Cutmore and Hinton eliminated Kora Cooper and Taylor Hutchison of Raglan.

In the Women’s Division, Brown and Millar defeated Kyra Wallis (Piha) in one semifinal and Morse and Tawharu defeated Liv Haysom (Piha) in the other.

Farr takes a commanding lead on the 2024 NZ Surf Series but will be run down missing the final two events of the season.  Leia Millar’s runner up finish sees her take the lead on the Women’s side with two events remaining in the season. 

The Aotearoa Surf Pro is one of seven events on the NZ Surf Series and sees over $5000 in prize money plus prizes and giveaways up for grabs. An SNZ2000 rated event, it has attracted the best surfers from all over the country as well as a handful of local talent keen to give the event a crack in home waters.

Te Arai Beach is an iconic beach break situated to the south of Mangawhai Heads. With peaks up and down the beach, often heavy barrels and a right hander off the point when the sand is right, Te Arai is one of the premier breaks of the Auckland region.


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