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2009 Carbon Art Rodgers Dental Wave Nationals: Yet again Taranaki played host to the countries best wave sailors all competing for their name on the coveted trophy.

We left the 2008 nationals with perfectly clean 5 foot ground swell at Kina Rd. The plan for this event was to carry on from last year only bigger and better. However, 2009 started with 12 knots and waist high sets at Weld road. Unfortunately these conditions did not improve over the three days allotted to the competition.

We managed to complete the women and youth divisions, but only one round of the open competition. Congratulations to Thomas Davies and Rewa Kawiti for their well deserved victory. They were awarded with $100 cash each, while the $400 allotted to the winner of the open division went unclaimed. Rodgers Dental Studio has confirmed that this unclaimed money will be used as sponsorship for another windsurfing event in the near future. Stay tuned!

With the conditions being so disappointing, other activities were called for.

An all day barbeque and refreshments was provided by Rodger Dental Studio, to keep competitors fuelled and happy. While waiting for conditions to get contestable, entrants and spectators dabbled in a variety of water sports. Some took large windsurf boards out and scratched out a couple of rides. Others had an easy surf or played on the stand up paddle board.

Supping is not as easy as it looks!

The weather was fantastic with beautiful sunshine all day every day. If we had been holding a fishing competition the conditions would have been perfect. In fact some of the local entrants were keener to go fishing than to wait around for marginal windsurfing conditions. Friday evening provided an opportunity for the kayaks to hit the water, resulting in a snapper being landed that was large enough to feed half the competition.

For some, Saturday night was occupied with the Purple Paddocks dance party in Oakura, which was fun by all accounts. On Sunday a few competitions were held to determine who deserved one of the tee shirts Seventh Wave had provided for the event. First up was a chilli eating competition. Paul Abbott proved to be the best fire eater, going back for more, even after all other entrants were either spewing or trying to cool the burn in the river.

Next up was an impromptu slalom race on wave gear. The race began at the top of the beach, with a mad race across the driftwood and rocks, down to the windsurfing gear near the water edge. From there the mid tide rocks and seaweed were navigated before a drift or swim took sailors out to the wind line. The race was around the big Weld road rock and back to the shore. Some swam, some caught a wave back in. The race was won by Jebbe Unthank, and first woman was Rewa Kawiti.

Not long after this race the event was abandoned late on Sunday afternoon, with yet another barbeque and beers followed by a prize giving. The remainder of the spot prizes were handed out. Jebbe and Rewa received their cash prizes courtesy of Rodgers Dental.

The unique trophy for the open division New Zealand wave sailing champion was retained by last year’s champion James Court. He was a little unsure whether the Tiki was providing him with a guarding presence or not. Some suspect that this Tiki would rather be living in its real home, Taranaki. However, it will have to wait until Easter 2010, where once again the nation’s best wavesailers will compete for the privilege of receiving the Tiki’s blessing for the year.

Thanks to Seventh Wave for providing the competition rash shirts and spot prizes.

Thanks to James from Carbon Art and OP from Spore Design for organising and judging the competition.

Thanks to Rodgers Dental for the prize money and Colgate for the great product packs.

You all know which brands are sponsoring windsurfing in New Zealand. Do your best to support them whenever possible. Thanks to all the competitors for coming to Taranaki, and I look forward to seeing you all on labour weekend for the Taranaki Wave Classic.

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