The Ultimate Waterman event incorporates six disciplines of Surfing over eight days. The idea behind the event is to test these watermen in many different ways.
The disciplines are Big wave paddle surfing, Shordboarding, Longboarding, Waka Ama (outrigger canoeing), Stand Up Paddle Boarding, and SUP endurance. The elitist invitation only event has been completed in New Zealand.
The completion of the event didn’t include the Big Wave discipline as the conditions were not favourable. Every other discipline took place and the close fought competition went down to the final event.
The first event Waka Ama (outrigger canoeing) an endurance race over 18Km in the North Island near Auckland, Danny Ching took a convincing win and the early lead on the leader board. Danny Ching opted to strike out away from the coast somewhat and ride some of the ocean swells to victory.
The second event on the third day saw a lot of driving to find suitable conditions to run the big wave event, but the size just wasn’t on offer so the decision was made to run the Shortboard event instead. In pumping waves on a hollow beach break the competition format was a single two hour heat with everybody in the water at once. After a lot of barrels and wipeouts the win went to Tahitian Manoa Drollet with Aussie charger Mark Visser close on his heels.
Day four saw the Stand Up Paddle Surfing event take place on the South Island on a long wrapping point break, a slightly different format to the Shortboard division on the previous day, the SUP surfing was split into two, four man heats and the top two from each progress through to the final. Big gouging carves and a barrel on the inside saw Daniel Kereopa (NZL) take the top spot over Kai Lenny (HAW) in the final.
The Longboarding division took place on the fifth day at New Zealand’s most famous surf spot Raglan. The Format followed the same as the SUP event with two heats and then a final. Local surfer Daniel Kereopa was the convincing winner surfing with speed, power and flow. Local knowledge must have been a factor in this win and Kereopa took full advantage. By winning the Longboard event Kereopa pushed himself into the top spot on the leader board with only on event to go.
The final event of the competition was the Stand Up Paddle Endurance Race. With only two competitors left on the running for the crown of the first Ultimate Waterman, local New Zealander Daniel Kereopa and Hawaiian Kai Lenny. Lenny needed third or higher while Kereopa needed to place seventh or eighth. The race was won by Hawaiian Conner Baxter and Lenny didn’t achieve the necessary results to push Kereopa from the top spot.
A fantastic competition incorporating many different disciplines is a great idea and Daniel Kereopa deserved to take the overall win. ‘It’s the most important event that I have ever won, because of the quality of the athletes that I had to prove myself against’ said Kereopa. We hope to see the event next year but perhaps this time with a bigger field of competitors.
For more information on the event or to watch the highlight reels take a look at the video below.