AUCKLAND, New Zealand - After starting and stoping due to lockdowns, the first day of the NZ Barfoot & Thompson Stand Up Paddle Boarding Nationals was held with more than 80 athletes registered from around New Zealand.
Waterbourne beach festival kicked off with the Barfoot & Thompson Stand Up Paddleboard Nationals, which is a 3 day competition that started with sprint racing at Lake Pupuke on Friday afternoon. This will be followed by a long distance 16km race Saturday at Takapuna Beach and the technical race getting underway on Sunday.
The conditions were ideal down at the Lake with flat water, light breeze and blue skies. There were 80 athletes that showed up Friday afternoon and a good crowd gathered to cheer them on during the heats and the finals. Each race was 200m and lasted only about a minute each, which kept the racing tight and exciting to watch.
Jo Aleh took out 1st place in the woman’s category with Marlene Jackson in 2nd and Angela McKee in 3rd. Ollie Houghton placed first in the very competitive men’s fleet with Ollie Puddick and Fergus Dunlop going head to head for 2nd place. Ollie managed to get over the line in second place with Fergus close behind. William Dunlop got 1st place in the under 16 division. Mike Pirrit got first in the over 40 division, Jan Dunlop got 1st place in the over 50 and James Henderson placed first in the over 60.
Ollie Houghton said, “It was the most perfect day for racing, sun is out and the water is glassy, so good to be here!”
Jo Aleh, Olympic Gold medalist said, “Waterbourne has been so cool, great to have an event like this being put on in my local area.”
Laurence Carey, event organizer, said, “A great day on and off the water before a weekend of live music, paddle boarding and the Americas Cup. It is great to have so many athletes competing and taking part. Without the support of partners like Barfoot & Thompson, MyRepublic and Tip Top, this recent lockdown would have meant we couldn’t run the nationals, however their ongoing support has been critical to our survival. Although our event has been drastically impacted by the recent lockdown, what we have been able to confirm for the upcoming week will be a taste of what was organized and what is to come in 2022.”
Saturday will be action packed as well with the SUP long distance race at 9:30am off the beach, the America’s Cup on the big screen in the afternoon along with free live music. To pre register for free live music or movie nights go to waterbourne.co.nz