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‘Ultimate waterman’ to be crowned in Auckland

Media release
13 November 2014

‘Ultimate waterman’ to be crowned in Auckland

Auckland sports fans will be able to see and compete against some of the world’s best water sport athletes next year, with Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) today confirming a sponsorship agreement for The Ultimate Waterman.

The Ultimate Waterman is an exciting new Auckland-based global surfing event which will be held annually. The inaugural event will take place from 14-21 March 2015, with elite and public participation disciplines combining to create a week-long festival of surfing.

Eight of the world’s best ‘watermen’ will take part in The Ultimate Waterman’s elite competition, competing in six different surfing, standup paddleboard and waka ama disciplines to find the world’s best all-round waterman.

The elite field is led by Kai Lenny (Hawaii) - the recently crowned champion of the 2014 Stand Up World Tour standup paddleboard circuit - who is widely credited as one of the most accomplished watermen of his generation.

Lenny will be joined by other renowned international watermen including Daniel Kereopa (New Zealand); Mark Visser (Australia); Manoa Drollet (Tahiti); and Danny Ching (USA).

The Ultimate Waterman will also include Auckland-based public participation events, where members of the public can take part in stand-up paddleboard and waka-ama events alongside the elite competitors at Takapuna Beach on 14 March 2015.

Auckland Mayor, Len Brown, says this event is tailor-made for Auckland, and will showcase the region’s surf destinations internationally and domestically.

“This is a great opportunity to see some of the best watermen in the world in action, and for Aucklanders and visitors to our city to have a go at some of the sports.

“It also allows us to show the world what Auckland has to offer as a global city with great access to some of the most stunning coastline in the world,” says Mayor Brown.

ATEED’s sponsorship of The Ultimate Waterman, on behalf of Auckland Council, is for an initial two year period with right of renewal for a further three years. Funding has been allocated from ATEED’s Major Events Sponsorship Fund with $225,000 allocated for the first year of the event, decreasing to $175,000 in the second year.

The projected GDP impact of The Ultimate Waterman is $463,000 in the first year, rising to $1.06 million in the fifth year, with a total impact of $3.74 million over five years.

ATEED Chief Executive, Brett O’Riley says: “The Ultimate Waterman is a new, home-grown event that is unique to New Zealand, and a great addition to what is an exciting events calendar for Auckland in the summer of 2015.

“This event has the potential to generate significant international exposure, with Auckland and New Zealand featuring prominently in online coverage and on television and film screens around the world.

“This makes The Ultimate Waterman a good fit for the aspirations outlined in Auckland’s Major Events Strategy and Visitor Plan, both of which support Auckland Council’s vision of transforming Auckland into the world’s most liveable city,” says Mr. O’Riley.

The Ultimate Waterman event founder and Surfing New Zealand Executive Officer, Greg Townsend, says that while the public participation events will be held on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, the elite section will be a truly mobile event.

“Coastal locations around the Auckland region and across New Zealand are in line to host disciplines, with final venues selected on the day to ensure that competitors will be competing in the best weather, wind and swell conditions.

“Meteorologists and local experts will forecast conditions daily to determine where the best conditions for each discipline are. Competitors and crew will then drive or fly from the event hub in Auckland to compete at each selected discipline location,” says Mr. Townsend.


Notes to editors:

• The six surfing disciplines are short board surfing, longboard surfing, stand-up paddle board endurance, stand-up paddle board surfing, waka-ama endurance and tow-in surfing.
• Competitors in the elite section of The Ultimate Waterman include:
o Kai Lenny (Hawaii), the recently crowned 2014 Stand Up World Tour champion widely credited as one of the most accomplished watermen of his generation;
o Mark Visser (Australia), a renowned big wave surfer and adventure athlete;
o Manoa Drollet (Tahiti), considered one of the best free-surfers, tackling the huge waves at Teahupoo in his homeland of Tahiti;
o Daniel Kereopa (New Zealand), the ultimate Kiwi waterman who has dedicated his life to riding all types of waves on a variety of equipment;
o Danny Ching (USA), a premier paddle sports athlete from Southern California who is recognised worldwide as a skilled waterman.
• The three remaining elite competitors in The Ultimate Waterman competition will be announced in the lead up to the event.

© Scoop Media

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