Kai Hing (AUS) is the first champion crowned at this year's New Zealand Home Loans Surf Festival winning the World Surf League (WSL) North Beach Junior Men's JQS1000 (Junior Qualifying Series).
Hing defeated Tahiti's Ariihoe Tefaafana in onshore peaky 1 meter (2-to-3 foot) surf at Fitzroy Beach in a see-sawing Final with multiple lead changes. Hing's 9.03 outstanding ride with 10 minutes remaining in the Final was the decisive difference between the surfers. Hing's powerful top-to-bottom backhand attack was well rewarded and today's win sees Hing go to the top of the Australasian JQS rankings.
"It's my first-ever win at WSL level and it's such a relief, " said Hing.
"I've enjoyed the waves here, they are similar to the beach breaks I surf on the Sunshine Coast in Australia and I felt great today posting a few 9 point plus rides. This win gives me confidence and my goal all year has been to qualify for the WSL Junior Championships and win the Australasian Junior Series so right now I'm in a position to do that - but there's more events so I can't get too carried away."
Both surfers will now head to Tahiti for two JQS events held in the tropical pristine waters on the Tahitian Islands.
"This has been a good event for me and 2nd is a strong result. Tahiti is next for us and I'm very keen to surf in my home waters against all these great surfers" said Tefaafana.
The North Beach Junior Women's JQS1000 is down to the final 12 surfers and will likely decide their winner tomorrow.
"My priority here is the Women's QS6000 but I'm keen to do well in the Junior as well" said Williams.
"It's great to be competing in WSL events in my own country in front of the locals to showcase how great professional surfing is and I'm focused on the week ahead."
The Blue Ribbon Port Taranaki Pro Women's QS6000 event will begin tomorrow and many of the world's top professional female surfers were acclimating to the Fitzroy Beach waters today including current Championship Tour No. 3 Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW). The quality field includes 6 women's Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour surfers Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW), Sage Erickson (USA), Weston-Webb, Laura Enever (AUS) and Dimity Stoyle (AUS).
Organizers are optimistic about increasing swells and good conditions as we head into the weekend.
North Beach Junior Men's JQS 1000 Final
1st: Kai Hing (AUS) 16.70
2nd: Ariihoe Tefaafana (PYF) 13.50