1. The TSB Bank New Zealand Surf Festival have announced a change in the format of the event, sadly seeing the ASP women’s World Championship Tour leg cut from the event.

    The event will now be focused around local and/or younger surfers, with a number of new events being introduced. Among the new events, the festival will see Taranaki’s Fitzroy beach host a women’s 6-star Qualifying Series event.

    Read the full announcement below:

             2014 NZ Surf Festival to Host Women’s ASP 6-Star Event Plus Men’s and Women’s Pro Junior Divisions

    By Will Hayden-Smith

    In 2014 the NZ Surf Festival will return to Taranaki, but has changed its format from the women’s WCT event that has run for the last four years, to include new divisions that will offer more opportunities for up-and-coming surfers from New Zealand and across the globe. Next year the event is set to stage a women’s 6-Star Qualifying Series (QS) event, that will feature in excess of 60 of the world’s best surfers. In Addition to the women’s QS event, the NZ Surf Festival will also feature men’s and women’s ASP Pro Junior divisions that will see the best surfers under 21, from the Asia Pacific region compete for valuable rating’s points and prize-money.
    Craig Williamson, CEO of Surfing Taranaki is excited about the changes to the event for 2014 as it will allow more opportunities for up-and-coming surfers from New Zealand, and more international surfers the chance to experience Taranaki, with over 100 competitors expected to attend.

    “We are thrilled to be hosting a fifth annual NZ Surf Festival and to again be featuring New Zealand’s only ASP events,” Williamson said. “It’s great to be able to run a women’s ASP Qualifying Series event alongside men’s and women’s Pro Juniors. This allows us to cater for the cream of NZ talent along with what is sure to be a strong showing of the world’s best women and junior surfers. We can’t wait to host the event and once again celebrate the waves and hospitality that Taranaki has to offer.”

    Paige Hareb (NZL) the Taranaki local surfer is about to embark on her 5th year as a member of the elite Top 17 surfers on the women’s ASP WCT. Hareb loves to compete at home and is looking forward to the 2014 NZ Surf Festival giving more New Zealand surfers the same opportunity.

    “It’s going to be great for the Taranaki region to bring even more people here and it’s definitely helping grow the sport of surfing in New Zealand,” Hareb said. “It’s awesome that any female Kiwi and pro junior man or woman who wants to have a go and experience some international competition can try it right on their front doorstep in Taranaki. I’m training the hardest I’ve ever trained before so if theory has it right, I expect some results next year.”

    Ella Williams (NZL), newly crowned ASP Women’s World Junior Champion was thrilled to hear about the 2014 NZ Surf Festival, as she feels competing at home will give her an edge in her quest to qualify for the women’s ASP WCT.

    “It’s going to be awesome to have a 6-Star here in NZ!” said Williams. “It will be great for the local surfers to be involved with. It’s a huge positive for women’s surfing in New Zealand. My plan for next year is to qualify for the Women’s WCT, to build up my points and to give myself the best chance I can to qualify and having an ever at home will hopefully give me a push in the right direction.”

    Dane Jordan, ASP Australasia General Manager was quick to thank Craig Williamson and the dedicated crew at Surfing Taranaki for their continued support and can’t wait to get to NZ for next year’s NZ Surf Festival.

    “During the last couple years we have had a few cancellations of 6-Stars and Pro Junior events, but thanks to hard working people like Craig Williamson and the Surfing Taranaki crew and the Taranaki community who support the event, those tours are looking strong again for 2014,” Jordan said. “The waves are great in Taranaki and the people are so warm and welcoming, I’m really looking forward to the 2014 NZ Surf Festival.”

    The ASP events within the 2014 NZ Surf Festival will run from Apr 29 – May 4, 2014 featuring Women’s ASP 6-Star and men’s and women’s ASP Australasia Pro Junior Series divisions.

    More information available via ASPWorldTour.com & NZSurfFestival.co.nz”