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And Two If by Sea


The story of professional surfers and identical twins CJ and Damien Hobgood, who used their sibling rivalry and struggles to establish their own identities to fuel their careers, but also allowed them to rip their personal lives apart.



Josh Mulcoy’s first time to Alaska was for SURFER way back in the early ’90s, and it landed him a cover Opens a New Window. That trip also began an obsession with the state that’s lasted two and a half decades, in which time he’s been back at least once every year. “There’s been some trips that had some fun waves, and some trips that had some really bad waves,” says Mulcoy in his new film, “Within Reach”, above. “I guess I have an addiction to places that never get good, because I keep going back. Sounds stupid, but it’s true: I’ve gotten to surf perfect waves in other places but I’ve never had that feeling like I’ve had in [Alaska], when it all comes together.” For Mulcoy, it certainly all came together on a recent expedition, the first time he’s truly scored in Alaska since that maiden trip as a teenager. “To pull up this time and have it doing it again was just a dream,” Mulcoy continues. “Like 25 years? Are you serious? To get it again with my friends…I dunno, those were the best waves I’ve had in years. And the best moments of surfing, because of where it was and what it was.”

Surfing New Zealand Proposed Constitution


As many of you know, we have not reviewed our constitution for more than a decade.  It is no longer fit-for-purpose relative to modern society, the required direction of National Sports Organisations (NSOs) under Government and Sport NZ guidance, or a sport/lifestyle such as surfing with our unique opportunities and needs.

We have refined the proposed constitution document and now look forward to presenting this for adoption at a Special General Meeting (SGM).

Most importantly, it reflects a widening of the lens to include and embrace the needs of the entire surfing community within New Zealand.

Click for more information and to download the proposed constitution plus time frames.

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Author: Ben Kennings

Kiwi Surf Film in the Making


Surfing New Zealand is on a mission to create a Kiwi surf film with the help of the surfing community.

There have been numerous pumping swells and insane surfing taking place this year.  A scroll across social media accounts is a testament to what has been going down along our coastline.

The film will capture recent action by pulling together the best surfing from the past six months and feature New Zealand’s elite surfers as well as a cast of top performers from all corners of Aotearoa.

“Clearly our event season got cut in half this year with the lockdown,” said Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings.

“The time out has allowed us to look at future initiatives to promote surfing and New Zealand surfers and this film project is one way we can do so without requiring significant gatherings such as events” he added.

The scrapbook-style film project has been met with great enthusiasm from a raft of top surfers who have already submitted content or are currently pulling together their best clips.  Some surfers will remain on the hunt with two weeks to go to lock in fresh vision.

The film will feature a large cross-section of the surfing community and as such Surfing New Zealand is putting the call out for surfers to submit their own footage to be considered for inclusion.

If you have some gold sitting in your files, you can send your best 2-3 clips into Surfing New Zealand.  Simply send high-quality clips via We Transfer to benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

All clips need to be submitted by June 30 to be considered.

The yet to be named film is set to be released in July via our social media channels.  A campaign will be conducted in the coming weeks to name the film.

A call will also go out for music submissions to accompany the footage.

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Author: Ben Kennings

Raglan Surf Academy NZ School Champs Cancelled


Hello to you all from the Surfing Academy.

We hope this post finds you and your families in great health.

Wow-what a full-on year.

News regarding the ‘NZ Schools Surfing Champs’.

We are sorry for the lack of communication and we regret to inform you that the Raglan Area Schools Surfing Academy is unable to run the surf comp this year…..so the ‘NZ Schools Surf Champs’ is off.

We have really struggled with this decision and this will be the first time in 21 years where this competition hasn’t run. We haven’t taken this decision lightly.

We are so sorry.

We do believe you deserve the opportunity to have some understanding behind our decision and so we would like to take a little time to communicate our reasoning. Frustratingly we see many ways, we could still run the comp, but in hindsight, we have made some vital mistakes. (We are all wiser in hindsight).

Heath wise, there is no reason why we couldn’t run the event.

We waited for as long as we could to make wise decisions but in reflection, we shouldn’t have.

We should have just organized the comp during the lockdown and once school came back, the Academy should have used our own time to work towards running the comp. In a normal year for the students to run the event, we begin the process within the Academy subject time, from the beginning of term 2.

Unwisely we didn’t.

Unsure of the emotional climate in Raglan and issues surrounding Covid19, we have waited thinking this to be wise. Now, this has placed the Academy in the situation being able to run the comp, but having to pull students out of Academic classes, already under stress, to work on producing the ‘NZ Schools surfing Champs’.

We have battled with our creative thinking, supportive teachers and students, about how we could organize and run the event while maintaining the potential for our students to have the time for their Academic classes. But whichever way we have looked at it, there is just to higher a cost to our student’s time to maintain their academic success.

We understand that a lot of you have been so amped on this event and this just makes us even more gutted. Within the Academy, we have students that have competed in this event from the age of 11, and for the first time in their lives, they had a chance to run the comp being part of the Academy. This will now not be the case.

We also understand that it’s not just the event that’s cool, but that it gives everyone an opportunity to travel away together, as a team and make awesome memories.

We hope you can keep your amp, get creative, and still make opportunities to create some awesome surfing memories.

Again, we are very sorry and hope you can all have an amazing winter surfing as much as you can.

Keep amped.

Best regards,
The Raglan Area Schools ‘Surfing Academy’.

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Author: Ben Kennings

Olympic-Grade Aquasports Park One Step Closer to Calling Kaiapoi Home


An Olympic-level Aquasports park is one step closer to calling Kaiapoi home after the concept demonstrated through the pre-feasibility study the potential to be commercially viable.

The WHoW Charitable Trust plan a New Zealand first by co-locating surf wave, whitewater and cable wakeboard facilities together in an Aquasports Park parks alongside the Kaiapoi River on former red zoned land.

Trust Chairperson, Tony Joseph says the study has shown the project ‘has legs’ and gained the support from Waimakariri District Council, who will provide the Trust a short term lease on the former red zone land, so they can continue to progress towards making the park a reality.

“We’re really excited about this project. This park could transform the Aquasports scene in New Zealand by creating perfect conditions year-round for surfers, kayakers and wakeboarders to become the best of the best. At the same time there is space and scope for participation at all levels of several aqua sports that are growing rapidly but hindered in reaching their potential through lack of facilities.”

Surfing is now an Olympic sport and this facility, which could become the first surf garden facility in New Zealand, would provide a much-needed training facility for Kiwi and Pasifika qualifying athletes.

The park would provide water lovers with perfect waves, whitewater and cable wake at any time of year, and would be within easy reach of Christchurch international airport and main transport routes servicing the Canterbury region.

Last year the trust shared early concepts with the community before launching a Give A Little campaign looking for local support to help them undertake a pre-feasibility study.

“The feedback we got from both the Kaiapoi and Canterbury community was outstanding. People opened their pockets and helped us find over $100,000 to get to this point – there’s a real excitement about this project and how it could be a catalyst in Canterbury becoming an all-round adventure destination,” says Tony.

“Having got to the point of ‘proof of concept’ our focus now turns to putting together a more detailed proposal for investors which, if successful, will bring us one step closer in making this become a reality.”

Christchurch based mother and daughter surfing sensations Donna and Ava Henderson are ecstatic the proposal has got to the next step.

“I am stoked for the team at WHoW to see all their hard work paying off. The journey has been exciting to watch as a surfer, a surf school owner and a surf comp mum,” says Donna.

“The positive impacts on the wider surfing community and the opportunities a facility like this provides, not only our local kids but all kiwi kids regardless of abilities, are limitless. The wave park will provide a training ground for young up and coming surfers to fine tune their craft, wave after perfect wave and create opportunities for kids to learn how to surf in a safe controlled environment.”

The park would provide a perfect training ground for daughter Ava, who at 14 is the New Zealand women’s champion.

“Sometimes the waves aren’t ideal here in Christchurch so it would be great to be able to train in a wave pool where the waves are perfect every time,” says Ava.

Waimakariri District Council have granted the Trust a short-term lease of the regeneration land so they can continue to work on the project.

Mayor Dan Gordon says this is an exciting proposal for our District. The Council is in support of the proposal as the ethos of the Trust matches the regeneration aims the Council has in Kaiapoi.

“While still subject to full feasibility testing, the potential of this project to make a positive contribution in coming years to making the Canterbury region an adventure sports hot spot as well as aiding the economic recovery of COVID19.”

“Because of this the Council supported entering an agreement with the Trust to give them confidence to continue to develop their proposal.”


Go to Surfing New Zealand
Author: Ben Kennings

Covid-19 safe practice guidelines for clubs


Event Health & Safety Operational Guidelines – as at 30 May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has already impacted the sport we all love.  There will be a natural desire to get back to normality quickly, however we strongly encourage all our clubs and Approved surfing/SUP providers to take the time to thoroughly understand the guidelines, and then create robust and detailed plans before restarting any activity, be it coaching or competitions or club meetings.

The Current Situation

Now that group gatherings are permitted and the size of allowable groups is forecast to increase, no doubt that you will be eager to resume some club activities despite winter looming. We also have the (virtually judged) Boardrider Battle running for the month of June, which gives club members an opportunity to connect, surf and film together. An equal number of New Zealanders will be concerned about the safety of participating and accessing facilities. We must counter-balance these two sets of needs.

SNZ National Events

At this stage, all Surfing NZ national events remain postponed. It’s a rapidly changing environment and we’ll do our best to keep you up to date with the latest information.

SNZ Affiliated Club Events 

Clubs can run events at an appropriate scale, according to mass gathering limitations imposed by the government. Up to date guidance relevant to sport can be found here. Below we have provided additional guidance, specific to surfing. These guidelines are written for use if and when Surfing NZ events are rescheduled. In the meantime, we strongly encourage clubs and regional bodies to adopt these guidelines as far as possible, for any events you wish to run locally.

Operational Safety Guidelines for Level 2 National and Club Events

Here you will find information on how Surfing New Zealand Inc. is responding to the Pandemic, and what we’re doing to make sure our people stay safe in the events we run once we are given the go ahead to deliver our national competition calendar/schedule. Our guidelines are consistent with Sport New Zealand’s guidelines for sport.

These are recommended guidelines to ensure the safety of all competitors, officials, parents, supporters, coaches and spectators at events held in COVID-19 Level 2 status.

Before the event

  • Enter online via the event website link or SNZ event page here
  • Read the online competition waiver and sign to agree to the event Operating Safety Guidelines
  • No cash for entry fees will be accepted on the day

Travel to the event

  • Travel with your family members. Do not travel with anyone not in “your bubble”.
  • Follow all signage for where you can park safely.

At the competition

  • Surfing NZ events will be posted on Facebook and the SNZ Hotline phone number 021 113 4506 will be updated with the running order for the day.
  • Don’t congregate around the judging trailer – this area will be cordoned off.
  • Stay at least 2m away from other competitors/spectators
  • Do not use another competitor’s equipment be it surfboard, wax, leash towel or any other item that is not yours or has been touched by someone else
  • Don’t check in early for your heat. Your rashvest will be dipped in dis-infectant and be available for pick up from the beach marshall area once the 7-minutes to go mark has been reached. The beach commentator will announce when the rashvests are ready for collection.
  • At the end of your heat please return your rashvest ASAP to the beach marshalling area so it can be sanitised.
  • The MC will announce all results once they are confirmed.
  • Results will also be posted on the Facebook page
  • Prize giving will take place at the event site. Please maintain 2m distance from all spectators. Prizes will be disinfected, then placed in bags on a table in front of the MC and Contest Director. Once your name is called please approach the table and collect your prize.

Event staff

  • Always maintain safe distance – Judges to keep a minimum of 1m apart
  • Bring your own water bottle/coffee cup and do not share with others
  • Use hand sanitiser and disposable gloves provided (unless you have your own gloves)
  • Judges will not share pens or clipboards with other officials

Leaving the event site

  • Take all your belongings with you
  • Leave only your footprints – take all litter home with you
  • Travel home with your “Bubble”, do not get a ride home with friends

General Information – stay informed

Follow the Ministry of Health Guidelines: www.covid19.govt.nz

Stay up to date on sport-specific guidelines here

Maintaining fitness is encouraged. Sign up to Farley Performance Training to stay in top shape for the upcoming events https://fpt.co.nz/account/register/

It’s a good time to reflect on your own surfing technique with The Art Of Surfing Academy https://the-art-of-surfing.mykajabi.com/taos-academy-surfing-new-zealand

Stay informed. We will provide regular updates on our website and social media so follow SNZ on surfingnz.co.nz, Facebook and Instagram

He waka eke noa | We are all in this together

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Author: Ben Kennings

SNZ Stakeholder Update


Happy days we can go surfing when we get to level 3!!! We are sure you were all as thrilled as us to hear that yesterday. Below are a couple of important specifics that we’ve picked out from https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-system/alert-level-3/;

 Travel is still restricted, and is only allowed for permitted movement in your local area – e.g. for going to work or school, shopping, or getting exercise.
 You cannot travel to another region for recreation.
 You should go to your nearest beach, not your favourite one.
 If you’re not experienced, don’t surf.

REMEMBER – We are not there yet, Level 4 still applies! We will find out more about the timing of any move to level 3, next Monday. As soon as a date is set for a move to level 3, we will publish some surfing-specific guidelines to help in keeping yourself and others safe whilst surfing.

Olympics and World Surfing Games Preparation
NZ Squad Announcement – We are thrilled to be able to name a training squad for these upcoming events. Whilst the World Surfing Games is yet to be rescheduled, and the Olympics are now 15 months away, it’s vital that we support a core group of elite surfers over the next few months in anticipation that the World Surfing Games could be held in late 2020. The NZ Surfing Squad is;
Ricardo Christie
Paige Hareb
Billy Stairmand
Ella Williams
Kehu Butler
Aimee Brown
Elliot Paerata-Reid
Saffi Vette
Raiha Ensor

Coach: Matt Scorringe
Strength and Conditioning: Olly Farley
Physiotherapist: Michelle

Barring injury, a team of 3 men and 3 women will be selected from this elite squad for the World Surfing Games in El Salvador. Congratulations to all those selected!

Surfing NZ Financial Position
Over the last few weeks, the Surfing NZ team has been working hard to build a budget for the next financial year (starting 1 July 2020), and forecasting cash flows based on a number of different scenarios. We are fortunate to have built up some cash reserves over the last 12 months, nonetheless in a worst-case (still in and out of levels 2/3/4 next summer) scenario, we will struggle to run our full event calendar and attract related commercial and charitable funding.

Pub charities are shut, and expecting to operate at about 50% in future when pubs are eventually allowed to open, and that could still be months away. Commercial sponsors will of course also be cash-strapped, and so we cannot rely on significant new sponsorship dollars. We have cut costs as much as possible and accessed the government’s wage subsidy scheme. Nonetheless, the unfortunate reality is that if we don’t do something different, we will run out of cash sometime next summer. We are working up a couple of new revenue stream options and would welcome any ideas you might have as to how Surfing NZ can generate revenue over the next 6 months so that we can run at full capacity next summer. Please send any ideas to matt.sale@surfingnz.co.nz

Constitution Review
Amended dates for feedback. We’re conscious that the ongoing covid19 situation makes it difficult for clubs to meet formally, and want to provide a bit more time for you to consider and feedback on the draft new constitution.

The process and new timetable for feedback from Members is as follows:
 Written feedback on proposed changes to be provided by members to matt.sale@surfingnz.co.nz
 Deadline for feedback from Members is 5pm Friday 29th May, 2020.
 Feedback to be considered by the Board over the first two weeks of June.
 Final recommendations to be sent to Members by 5pm Friday 19th June, 2020.
 Special General Meeting of Surfing NZ to be held on or before 1st August – date, time and location to be confirmed.
 New constitution to be adopted at November 2020 AGM.

REMINDER – Surfing NZ Nationals 2021
We would like to decide on a location and host boardrider club for next year’s Nationals, by early June this year. If your club would like to be considered, please email ben.kennings@surfingnz.co.nz by Friday 8th May. Ben will then get in touch with interested clubs, to gather a bit more information to help inform the decision.

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Author: Ben Kennings

2020 Corona Piha Pro Cancelled Due to COVID-19 Pandemic


COOLANGATTA, QLD/AUS (Friday, April 17, 2020) – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Surf League (WSL) has made the decision to cancel the 2020 Corona Piha Pro Challenger Series event in Auckland.

After postponing the event in the days before it was due to commence in mid-March, it has become clear that the inaugural Piha event will not be able to run in 2020. The current and quickly evolving restrictions on international travel and border closings along with the continued spread of the virus has made it extremely challenging to determine an appropriate and safe time to reschedule the event this year.

“It was an extremely difficult but necessary decision to postpone the Corona Piha Pro event only one day before it started due to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” said WSL Asia Pacific General Manager, Andrew Stark.

“At the time we felt confident to be able to postpone the event until later this year, but after much consideration by all key stakeholders, we feel the right decision is to formally cancel the event for 2020. We are now focussed on delivering the event in 2021 and we sincerely appreciate the New Zealand Major Events’ and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development’s support of this decision and for their broader assistance throughout a very difficult period.”

Susan Sawbridge, Manager of New Zealand Major Events said New Zealanders can look forward to a fantastic Piha Pro in 2021.

“This is an incredibly difficult time for the events industry as a whole and we feel for WSL, the competitors and supporters of the Piha Pro. We are committed to continuing our support for the event, and know the Piha Pro in future years will be a great success.

Steve Armitage, ATEED General Manager: Destination said it supported the organiser’s decision.

“We were hopeful this international event could go ahead later this year, but we fully respect the WSL’s decision to cancel it given the global situation. ATEED strongly believes that world-class events such as the Piha Pro will play an important role in the future recovery and the rebuild of Auckland’s visitor economy.”

WSL looks forward to running the new addition as part of its list of events in 2021 and hopes Piha turns on some of the perfect world-class conditions it’s known for.

The WSL will continue to provide updates as they are available.

For more information head to WorldSurfLeague.com or download the free WSL app About WSL The World Surf League (WSL), established in 1976, is the enablement platform for surfing and surfers worldwide. The WSL is dedicated to changing the world through the inspirational power of surfing by creating authentic events, experiences, and storytelling to inspire a growing, global community to live with purpose, originality, and stoke. The WSL is a global organization, headquartered in Santa Monica and with regional offices in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and EMEA. The WSL possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation, and performance at the highest levels. The WSL is comprised of Tours & Events, celebrating the world’s best surfers across all disciplines and annually running more than 180 global contests and crowning the undisputed World Champions across all divisions; WSL WaveCo, where innovation meets experience; and WSL Studios, which offers best in class storytelling across competition, lifestyle, and conservation. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com

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Author: Ben Kennings

SNZ Stakeholder Update – April


We trust you are all staying safe and well through this difficult time. Surfing New Zealand staff and board have been working hard from home over the last 2 weeks, managing the impact of postponed events and developing financial forecasts for various scenarios that might play out with Covid-19.

We have a board meeting next week, after which we will provide an update on our financial situation and plans for the next three months.

Coronavirus and Surfing
Firstly, a big thank you to the vast majority of you who are seeing and acting on the bigger picture and have not been surfing, especially since the more official ban put in place last Thursday. Trust me, we share your frustration about this situation. Yes, there is a strong fact-based argument to be made that surfing is significantly less dangerous and demanding on rescue/medical resources than cycling. Yes, you could argue that surfing has been unfairly singled out. Right now, please stay at home, don’t go surfing. Keep thinking big picture. Save Lives.

Having said all of that, Surfing NZ is in almost daily contact with Sport NZ, to understand the position on surfing and sports activity in general. In particular, we along with all other sports are engaged with government via Sport NZ, to seek the best possible increase in physical activity under level 3. It is helpful that the Finance Minister Grant Robertson is also the Minister for Sport.

Events Update
International Events – no doubt you are all aware that the Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until July 2021.

Great news for Ella Williams and Billy Stairmand – their provisional qualification spots are safe. Others will endeavour to qualify through the World Surfing Games in El Salvador, which has been suspended with the ISA suggesting that subject to the Covid-19 situation globally, they intend to run it in the last quarter of this year.

At this stage, the 2020 World Longboard and World Junior Surfing Championships are yet to be scheduled by the ISA.

Team selections will not take place until dates and locations are announced, and we will let you know when this happens.

NZ Events
There are no updates or changes regarding SNZ sanctioned events that were scheduled for April and May. These all remain suspended at this stage. We remain hopeful of resuming our event program September 26-27 with the Sticky Johnson Primary School Champs pres by Skullcandy in Gisborne, but will of course be guided by government alert level status and related restrictions.

Olympics Preparation
We are fortunate to have secured an International Olympic Committee funding grant, to help in preparing for the Olympics. This is not just about the few lucky enough to qualify for the 2021 event, as we have an eye already to the 2024 Olympics as well. The current lockdown has caused some significant challenges, but we are developing an alternative short-term plan for an eight person NZ Olympics Squad, and will announce that Squad and support staff next week.

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Author: Ben Kennings