Blistering winds and harsh rain could not dampen the eagerness of some of the country’s best surfers who have gathered in Dunedin this week for the 2016 Billabong NZ Surf Nationals.
Getting out of the Dunedin rain and into the heat of the battle.
“Last year I won both titles for the U18 girls and the U16s, so it’s made me a lot confident this year,” says competitor, Kea Smith.
Smith is one of the most talked about surfers at this competition this year. Even though she's resting this morning, she's preparing for three finals, the women's U16 division, U18 division, and for the first time she's also competing in the open women's division.
Her father Peter Smith says, “As long as she surfs her best, that’s what the whānau wants and the scores will sort themselves out.”
The organisers are charged with bringing together an eclectic mix of season surfing veterans to this event.
“We’ve had 220 entries and it spans from U14 to over 60s,” says competition organiser, Ben Kennings.
Smith is one of those heading off to the Pro Junior Gold Coast next week.
“I fly out of Dunedin to go to Australia, on the 17th which is in a couple of days for the Pro Junior. It's good because I get to compete against other girls that I don’t get to compete against and I get to see where I’m at,” says Smith.
Her father Peter Smith believes knowledge of the water is key, “Being in the water all the time, you know the currents you know the rips, koira nga ahuatanga o Tangaroa me Hinemoana.”
Finals will take place this weekend.