Board Riders focus on family-fun event

Surfers don’t always have the best rep.  They can be considered selfish, because nothing else matters but the surf, not even family or friends, and are known to be extremely territorial when it comes to strangers in their patch.

But the Raglan Point Board Riders appear to be dispelling such myths.

This Saturday, the club is holding its final competition of the year at Manu Bay. It’s a family affair, and although the point will be closed to the public for the event, it’s not exactly exclusive – any one can have a go, says president Phil Willoughby, also known as Flash.

“We are very conscious that Manu Bay is a public playground and that there are other users. We don’t want to impact on them.”

The Raglan Point Board Riders have been holding competitions at Manu Bay since 1964.

It holds six a year, and Saturday’s event wraps up the season with a double-points round, which can make all the difference in a very tight competition.

Phil says there are up to 80 surfers competing in the event, including a number of families.

“There are a lot of kids coming through the club at the moment, which is something that we haven’t seen in a long time,” he says.

“All the old surfers are having kids.

“Surfing should be a family-oriented sport. Dads need to take the kids surfing instead of going out by themselves.

“We want to get more younger surfers in the club.

“Kids make it a better club.”

The club has about 15 young surfers. Most are under the age of 16.

“There are four grommets who are particularly good, and compete at a national level,” says Phil.

Young surfers from Whangarei, Whakatane and Auckland also regularly come to Raglan to compete.

“While mum has a heat, dads are watching the kids. The whole family is surfing.

“We have a lot of randoms that turn up on the day, too, and if they want to go surfing that’s fine. We are not going to throw them out of Manu Bay.”

But they will need to pay to compete, just like everyone else.

Raglan surfer Jwan Milek, who has been involved with the club since the early 1970s, says the Point Board Riders has turned from being a group of guys who wanted to surf to a family club.

He says he surfed in the club with his daughter, Kylie, who was a New Zealand junior champion.

“My daughter has kids, they surf, they will probably go in the board riders club,” he says of his grand kids, aged 5 and 7.

Jwan says the competitions are a good social gathering for younger surfers. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Organiser Michelle Tarrant, who doesn’t surf herself but got involved in the club because of her children, says the main focus of Raglan Point Board Riders has always been the competitions, but it’s now looking towards the development of its younger surfers.

She says the club hopes to introduce training nights at the beach or Manu Bay next year for young people or anyone who is keen to come down and learn how to surf.

On Saturday there will be a BBQ fundraiser for the club, with the money going towards helping young surfers compete at national competitions.

The public is invited to come down for a sausage and some surfing advice.

“There is a lot of expertise on the point on the day that you can tap into,” says Phil.

Anyone interested in joining the Raglan Point Board Riders can contact Michelle: ph 825 6565.

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