Surf classic a success

Haami Pou, of Riverton, winner of the open men's section of the annual Colac Bay Classic, which was hosted by the Southland Board Riders' Association at Colac Bay on Saturday. Photo: Jess Terrill

THREE generations of board riders were among the 182 entries at this year’s Colac Bay Classic.

Hosted by the Southland Board Riders Association, riders development and events co-ordinator Jess Terrill said this year’s classic was not only massive with record numbers, but also the “most successful to date”.

Terrill who is a former New Zealand surfing champion and the owner/operator of Southland Surf School, described the classic, begun in 2014, as “unique”, saying it was “very much a community-based event”.

Surfers, family, friends and spectators all chill out – “it has a cool vibe, which is nice,” she said.

Organising such a massive event with so many surfers with such a variation of skills and abilities in 20 divisions throughout the whole day was a logistical challenge, she said.

“Logistics manager Corey Hodges and contest director and club president Cory Ward were the key to the success of the event, co-ordinating the order of events around the surf and tide conditions to accommodate more than 182 surfers in 20 divisions, from little surfers, who needed pushed into waves by their parents, to ‘old-school’ men and women in the over-40s division,” she said.

Young surfer Robbie Humm (11), from Invercargill, tries out some surfing moves on dry land during the Colac Bay Classic on Saturday. Photo: Janette Gellatly

Competitors came from Dunedin, Christchurch and Queenstown, with about 100 from Southland and one from Brazil and another from Canada, she said.

Haami Pou, of Riverton, took out the open men’s section against some really big names in surfing, Terrill said.

Last year’s open men’s winner, Reuben Peyroux, of Christchurch, was second, Filipe Bueno, of Brazil, third, and Geoff Fox, formerly of Canada but now living in Riverton, was fourth.

Terrill won the open women’s section and was third in the longboard women’s section. Tash Civil was second in the open women’s, with Sarah Roberts third.

As well as Haami, three generations of the Pou family featured throughout the classic with Haami’s mother Yvonne Pou placing third in the old school women; his sister Marama Pou second in the longboard women, his niece Keita Thomas placing first in the under-10 girls, and another niece, Maleia Pou, coming fifth in the push-in girls, Terrill said.

Thomas also represented Southland at the Duke Longboard Festival in Christchurch recently, she said.

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