Malone to challenge incumbent at the National Surfing Champs

By Eru Paranihi

Taranaki surfer Jarred Hancox will be looking to defend his title at this year’s over 35-year-old men's final at the National Surfing Championship, but Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki surfer Chris Malone is out to take his spot.

With conditions difficult, and a lack of selection for waves on day five of the competition, Taranaki surfer Jarred Hancox booked his spot by cleaning up his opponents with a final score of 13.10.

"This was a good little warm up for tomorrow, just get that mind-set going and build up some confidence and momentum,” says Hancox who was satisfied with his ride today.

Being familiar with West Coast conditions may prove an advantage for the Taranaki surfer, who is the current champion in the division. Despite being the same coast, there are some key differences to the surf.

Hancox says, “It’s harder work here. You’ve got to more paddling. There’s more ocean moving, even on a small day like this. It’s quite a lot of energy required.”

Hancox will, however, have some stiff competition for the title heading into Saturdays final through the likes of Te Aitanga a Mahaki and Raglan resident Chirs Malone. There is mutual respect shown between bothy competitors.

“He’s a good match-up. He’s always keen for a contest. You know how he’s real competitive. It’s good, we need it, and it’ll keep the boys going and keep us alive,” says Malone.

Despite being frustrated with his run, Malone knows what is required if he has any chance of beating the incumbent and adding it to the trophy cabinet.

“I suppose just being relaxed. It can get into your head when you get out there because you only have twenty minutes to surf, and you can freak out a little bit. Just relax and try and choose the best waves,” says Malone.

The answer is simple for Hancox, who knows that there is a chasing pack eager to wave him down and claim top honours.

"I would like to win because I won last year. I won the over 35s in Dunedin last year, so it would be awesome to defend my title."