From Dunedin to Whangarei the nation’s best wave sailors trickled into Taranaki.
The 2007 Carbon Art New Zealand Wave Nationals started off with small swell and light winds at weld road. This made a nice welcome back / introduction to the legendary Taranaki coastline for competitors who traveled to compete. Easter weekend must have been summers last gasp, the weather was great, with hot, hot burning sun, and warm water.
Of the four possible competition days, there was sailing on Friday and Sunday. This was enough to complete one full round of competition resulting in Clayton Dougan winning the national wave sailing title.
Both competition days saw a nice clean ground swell with light wind, giving an advantage to light sailors and those with big equipment. These conditions made for a good test of surfing ability. There was very little drive from the sail when turning, and positioning in the critical section of the wave was necessary to generate speed. The competition this year showed a very high standard of wave riding, and some unexpected early knockouts.
Conditions were port tack riding on both days with no jumping. These are favored conditions for many locals, reflected by seven of the eight semifinalists calling Taranaki home. This years competition was almost a mirror image of the 2005 final with Clayton Dougan and Chris La Franchie going head to head in the final. Port tack in 2007 and starboard tack in 2005, but the result was the same both times. Clayton taking victory by a whisker, showing both competition experience and well polished skills.
The turn out was better than the last two years. There was excitement in the air, with some growth evidenced in the sport again. There was plenty of young blood challenging the older crew, and some youths entering this year. Give these guys a couple of years and they will really be shaking up the pecking order.
Congratulations to Jill Cooper for sailing well and taking home the woman’s title, but come on girls, get your act together and give her a challenge next year.
Thanks to Carbon Art for organizing, judging and providing post sailing entertainment. The commitment and support Carbon Art are continuously giving windsurfing within New Zealand was reflected by the number of sailors choosing the brand. It was great to see so many of the top sailors shredding on their locally made, hand built boards.
Check out the impact photography website for a comprehensive photo gallery of the event.
1st Clayton Dougan
2nd Chris La Franchie
3rd Spencer Lewis
4th Pete Hasslegrave
Mike La Franchie
1st Jill Cooper
1st Tim Haxell
Words by Michael La Franchie
Photo’s from Fleur Foote