Father and son in National Māori Surfing finals

By Heeni Brown

A father and son are in the Open Men's finals at this year's Aotearoa Māori Surfing Titles. 

It's the second time Kehu Butler has competed against his father, Khan, in the division's finals.

Ngāi Te Rangi and Arataki youth Kehu Butler says, "It's good rivalry and a lot of banter. I enjoy it!"

In 2016, Kehu won his first Māori national title with a win in the Under 18 Boys Division. He then won the final of the Open Men's Division defeating his father Khan in the process. 

Former NZ surfing representative and Kehu's father, Khan Butler says, "I'm just really happy that we can always come out of our busy international schedule of his and come back to the grass roots where it all starts and just seeing a whole lot of rangatahi getting out there on the water. That's kind of why we first started surfing."

Kehu is only 17 years old and already boasts a long list accolades.

Last year, he became the the first Red Bull New Zealand surf pro.

He returns to this year's Māori nationals nationals after placing 11th at the 2017 Vissla ISA World Junior Championships in Japan.

Kehu says, "Every year I get stronger and a bit better so I just do what I've been doing all year this year and just stuck to my strengths."

Khan says, "He's by far the better surfer. I tell everyone else he's got big shoes to fill but he's pretty much blown those out of the seams."

Kehu finished the competition winning both the Under 18 and Open Men's divisions.

However, Kehu says there's more to winning the competition. 

Kehu says, "I love being around everyone and just hanging around with just everyone. It doesn't really feel like a competition, it feels more like a camp or something where you're all with your friends."

Heading the Open Women's division is Te Atiawa surfer Zhana Hutchieson.

The defending champ took the title with a 9.73 win over Kea Smith, Natasha Goudsbury and Kahana Ngaia. 

Zhana Hutchieson says, "I think I was just more positive about this, I really wanted to win so I attacked the waves more and just tried my best."