Queenstowner Dave Mitchell’s won at least 10 New Zealand open waveski surfing titles, but his latest, over Easter weekend, was certainly one of his hardest-earned.
The 52-year-old AJ Hackett Bungy NZ boss, who won his over-50s grand master category as well as the open title, says the sea conditions off the Gisborne coast, where the champs are normally run, were the gnarliest he’s seen.
‘‘It was really hard work’’, he says, requiring a lot of fitness and experience, and ‘‘a dose of luck’’.
He also had to win a repechage to reach the final after being knocked out in the first round, ‘‘which meant I had to surf even more in the gnarly conditions’’.
Though he describes waveski surfing as a dwindling sport, Mitchell says the quality of surfing at these champs was ‘‘up there with the world’s best’’.
In addition to his NZ titles, he’s also come second in the worlds two or three times, including once when he was a teenager, and in 2002 he won the world senior, or over-30s, title.