The New Zealand Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Team depart for Mexico tomorrow (Thursday 7th May) to contest the 2015 ISA Stand Up Paddle (SUP) and Paddleboard Championship.
The event is being held at Sayulita, Mexico from the 10th – 17th May and a full complement of eleven Kiwi athletes will attend the event.
Daniel Kereopa (Rag) will be returning to the ISA Championships fifteen years after he last represented New Zealand at the World Surfing Games in Brazil. That was when he contested the Open Men’s Shortboard but he will be back in action in the Men’s SUP Surfing Discipline at next week’s event.
“The last time I was in a New Zealand team I placed ninth in Brazil” said Kereopa reflecting on his long international career. “I got selected a few other times over the years but was never able to make the events” he added.
“I am a little bit nervous to be honest. After winning The Ultimate Waterman in March I have had a bunch of commitments that have limited my water time. But surfing competitions are all about getting the best waves in your heats, it is not rocket science” said Kereopa adding “I want to go and perform well and also meet new faces and make new friends.”
Kereopa is also is keen to see how the current World Champion, young Tahitian Poenaiki Raioha surfs as well as the athletes from top nations such as Hawaii, USA and France.
Kereopa believes the New Zealand Team has an amazing array of talent and that with the full complement of athletes, and a fighting attitude toward competition, they will be sure rise up the ISA rankings from their current position of tenth.
At the other end of the spectrum is the youngest athlete of the team, Ollie Houghton from Takapuna Beach, Auckland. At 15 years of age Houghton will be one of the youngest athletes competing at the event and more specifically the technical SUP Race which is contested over 6.0km.
“My preparation has been great. I’ve been training for well over a month with the SUP team members up here at Takapuna. I’m at my peak performance going into this race” said Houghton.
“It’s a real privilege being able to represent my country for the first time and at 15, I’m super excited for the future. My goal is to make the final heat for the technical race. There are two preliminary heats and you have to get into the first 50 or so to make it to the final” added Houghton.
One of New Zealand’s top performing athletes at the 2014 event held in Nicaragua was Mount Maunganui’s Sam Shergold. Sam finished runner up in the long distance prone race which is approximately 18km.
Shergold has been doing some research on his opponents for this year’s event and has a feeling that the field will be a lot stronger than that in 2014.
“The Australian that won last year is returning for the event this year and his team mate was top three at the prestigious Molokai to Oahu Race last year. The Hawaiians and American’s also have strong teams this year” said Shergold.
“Last year was a big learning curve for me, even though I got second, I learnt heaps about the race both tactically and strategically, basically how to race smarter. I will use this experience as much as possible this year” added Shergold.
The eight day event includes surfers from over 25 nations competing in ten surfing and racing disciplines.
The schedule for the event is as follows. Start times are generally 8:00am for the surfing. Sayulita, Mexico is 18 hours behind New Zealand. All dates GMT-6. You can follow the event live via the event website.
10th May – Opening Ceremony and Parade of Nations
11th May – SUP Surf
12th May – Women’s SUP and Paddleboard Distance Race
13th May – Men’s SUP and Paddleboard Distance Race
14th May – SUP Surf
15th May – Technical Race 1
16th May – SUP Surf Finals and Team Relay
17th May – Technical Race Finals, Team Relay Finals and Prize Giving
Please see below for the full team that will compete at the 2015 ISA World Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championship to be held at Sayulita, Mexico from the 10th – 17th May.
Daniel Kereopa (Raglan) – SUP Surf
Shayne Baxter (Christchurch) – SUP Surf
Alexis Poulter (Waihi Beach) – SUP Surf
Armie Armstrong (Raglan) – SUP Distance Race and Technical Race
JP Tobin (Auckland) – SUP Distance Race
Ollie Houghton (Auckland) – SUP Technical Race
Penelope Strickland (Auckland) – SUP Distance and Technical Race
Sam Shergold (Mount Maunganui) – Paddleboard Distance Race and Technical Race
Cory Taylor (Gisborne / Gold Coast) – Paddleboard Distance Race and Technical Race
Jasmine Smith (Gisborne) – Paddleboard Technical Race
Katrina Madill (Auckland) – Paddleboard Distance Race
Manager – Barbara Newton (Mount Maunganui)
Assistant Manager – Rosie Houghton (Auckland)
Coach and reserve – Andrew Newton (Mount Maunganui)
For further information on the New Zealand Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Team please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.