World-class watermen on show

    Zane Schweitzer, of Hawaii, on his way to winning the prone paddleboard race and taking out the overall title at The Ultimate Waterman event held at Piha last year. Photo: Cory Scott Imagery

    SOUTHLAND will be on show around the globe as some of the world’s best watermen face off in The Ultimate Waterman event being held along the region’s coastline this week.

    “There is no better place to hold The Ultimate Waterman than Southland, with its world-class and diverse surfing destinations,” The Ultimate Waterman and Surfing New Zealand chief executive Greg Townsend said.

    “The event is a test of skill, strength and spirit, involving world-class athletes across a range of exciting water sports, so what better way to take this amazing province to the world?”

    Now in its third year, The Ultimate Waterman is a multi-disciplined water-based competition to find the world’s best all-round waterman. It is an invitation-only competition.

    This year’s event will be on the coasts of Southland, the Catlins and Fiordland. The previous two years’ events were held in the Auckland region.

    Five athletes are returning from last year’s event – Zane Schweitzer, of Hawaii, who is back to defend his title, Connor Baxter, of Hawaii, Caio Vaz, of Brazil, Manoa Drollet, of French Polynesia, and New Zealand’s Daniel Kereopa.

    They will be joined by newcomers Californian Chuck Glynn, Coc Nogales, of Mexico, and Australian surf ironman Jackson Maynard.

    “The athletes come from diverse backgrounds and each has a unique skill set. It’s going to be fascinating to see their different areas of expertise collide and find out who comes out on top as The Ultimate Waterman,” Townsend said.

    The athletes will compete in eight disciplines over nine days – big wave paddle in surfing, waka ama, longboard, shortboard, stand-up paddle, stand-up endurance, underwater strength run and swim and prone paddleboarding.

    Spectators who have registered will also have an opportunity to take part in the Ultimate Paddle Day at Riverton on Sunday, April 9.

    The event would be filmed by Red Bull Media House for

    Venture Southland business and strategic projects general manager Steve Canny said the event would provide the region with its largest-ever promotional opportunity.

    “It is the perfect vehicle to promote Southland’s dramatic landscapes, people, communities and Invercargill to a global audience of potentially 1.3 billion people.”

    The Ultimate Waterman, April 1 to 9.


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