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The Star

Thursday January 18 2018

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Surfing success all in the family

„„ By Gordon Findlater IT WAS a family vacation which turned into a national medal haul for Donna Henderson, Ava Henderson and Estella Hungerford at the national surf championships in Gisborne last week. The highlight of the week was when Donna and Ava created history by becoming the first mother and daughter combo to win titles at the same national championships. The family tie doesn’t end there . . . Donna also made it to the women’s longboard final where she lined up against Estella, who is also her stepdaughter. The Taylors Mistake family left for Gisborne in their campervan on January 4. “We got to Gizzy and it was pumping. It was six foot plus on the first day of the competition,” said Donna. The 43-year-old had the highest score overall of 10.2 in the women’s senior event, which saw her take gold in the over 40 category. Her daughter Ava won the girls under-14 final with a score of 13.7. “Essentially, I won the oldest title and Ava won the youngest which is quite special,” said Donna. While tasting her own success was sweet, the highlight for the proud mum was watching Ava secure her first national title. “It was great. She came pretty close last year in Piha but was the bridesmaid so this year she was pretty determined to win.” “Straight off the buzzer she got a really good wave and then she just kept backing it up so it was really awesome to watch.” Donna – who is the founder of the Christchurch School of Surf at Sumner Beach – began surfing in her early 20s and won her first national title at the age of 42 in 2017. Ava on the other hand rode her first board at six and has now already claimed her

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SURF’S UP: Estella Hungerford finished second in the women’s longboard and fourth in the girls under 16.

first national crown at the age of just 12. “She’s doing pretty well and she does want to be a pro surfer. We’ll see how that goes.” There was more of a competitive element to her step-daughter’s success when Donna and Estella met in the

longboard final. “Both of us were going headto-head in the longboard. I was coming second but in the last minute Estella got a bomb from out the back and pipped me.” “I was really happy for her.” Estella also finished fourth in the girl’s under-16 final.

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In Brief CRASH VICTIM A PRIEST The man killed in a crash on Monday was the assistant priest at Our Lady of Victories Parish on Main South Rd, Sockburn. Father Graeme Joseph Blackburn, 33, died after a collision between a motor-cycle and a vehicle on Purau Port Levy Rd, Purau, at about 5.30pm. Father Blackburn had only been ordained in July last year. The serious crash unit is investigating the incident. A vigil for Father Blackburn is to be held on Friday at Our Lady of Victories Church. The Requiem Mass will be held on Saturday at St Mary’s ProCathedral on Manchester St.

SPORTS PARK DELAYED The reopening of Sydenham Park has been delayed for a fourth time due to wet and extreme weather conditions. City council neighbourhood and sports parks operation manager Al Hardy said the work to install four cricket blocks and three sand carpet playing fields will be completed by April 1. The work started in April last year. Originally the park was meant to be finished by July, but that was pushed back to October, then February, and now April.

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VEHICLE BREAK-INS A man was arrested after being “grabbed” by onlookers as he allegedly broke into vehicles in Cashmere. Police responded to the incident on Hunter Tce at about 11.54am on Tuesday. “It would appear he was breaking into cars so some people have grabbed him and phoned police,” a police communications spokesman said.

YOUNG GUN: Ava Henderson won her first national title in the girls under 14.

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There could be a third Henderson gunning for a national title in the not too distant future as well. Donna’s son Travis is eight and recently took up surfing competitively. “He’s certainly got a bit of a taste for it, so we’re hoping to add another one.”

BUSKERS START TODAY The World Buskers Festival starts today, bringing comedians, daredevils, dancers, singers and acrobats to the city for 10 days. Fifty-five performers representing 14 countries are in the annual festival. A full line-up, dates and ticket sales can be found at http://www.

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