Surfing New Zealand announced a powerful team of six surfers in the New Zealand Surfing Team which will compete at the 2015 International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games starting late in May.
The event will take place at Popoyo, Nicaragua and will attract up to 150 athletes from thirty countries.
The team will be led by four of our top athletes that are currently competing on the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series.
Paige Hareb (Tara) and Ella Williams (WGM) will be the two female athletes in the team while Billy Stairmand (Raglan) and Matt Hewitt (Mnt) will compete in the Men’s Division. The guys will be joined by multiple New Zealand representative JC Susan (Dun) and ex Junior Surfing Team representative Dune Kennings (WGM).
Hareb and Williams have tasted success at the event in recent years, Hareb finishing runner up in 2010 and Williams placing fourth in 2013.
Both Hareb and Williams are currently competing on the Qualifying Series with the aim of securing a place on the World Tour for 2016. Hareb has started the year well and is currently ranked sixth with Williams slightly back in 25th. The two surfers will use the World Surfing Games as part of their build up towards their next major qualifying event in Mexico – the Los Cabos Open which starts two days after the completion of this event.
It is the opposite for Billy Stairmand who will contest two major QS10,000 events in California and Brazil over the next six weeks before heading to Nicaragua.
Stairmand along with Hewitt last represented New Zealand at the World Surfing Games in 2013 and after a two year hiatus will look for strong results this year to help elevate the New Zealand Team ranking.
JC Susan is the most recent New Zealand representative having placed 16th in 2014 when it was held in Peru, the highest placed Kiwi at the event. Susan has been part of the New Zealand Team for the past three events and will lean on his experience to break in to the top 10 this year.
Kennings is the youngest surfer in the team at 19 years old and has only represented New Zealand at a junior level. However, he will be sure to add some excitement to the team with his surfing having been exceptional during the summer domestic season here in New Zealand.
The team is currently ranked tenth in the world but will be looking for significant improvement in Nicaragua. A top seven finish will see the team gain an invite to the China Cup where they have the opportunity to compete against the top surfing nations from around the globe.
Peru claimed the team gold medal from 22 other countries in 2014 edging out Australia in second and Argentina in third.
The 2015 New Zealand Surfing Team is as follows:
Billy Stairmand (Rag)
Dune Kennings (WGM)
JC Susan (Dun)
Matt Hewitt (Mnt)
Non travelling reserve – Zen Wallis (Piha)
Ella Williams (WGM)
Paige Hareb (Tara)
See other teams: