The annual Trans-Tasman Surf Boat Challenge returns to Aotearoa shores this weekend at Waihi Beach, where the national New Zealand and Australia teams will battle it out for top honours in what is set to be a thrilling weekend.
Held for the last few years, the Trans-Tasman Surf Boat Challenge brings together the best surf boat crews from Australia and New Zealand to compete for the Trans-Tasman Surf Boat Challenge Trophy.
New Zealand is yet to win both the men's and women's titles in the same year, so this year they are more determined than ever to try and win both, with the athletes from the Kiwi team “really keen to beat the Aussies.” In the past, the New Zealand team won the men's title in 2012 with a crew from Piha SLSC, and the women's crew won it a year later for Mairangi Bay SLSC, showing that the Kiwis have every chance of winning both the men's and women's tests this year with a strong history of top surf boat athletes from past years.
This year, the four New Zealand crews all come from Titahi Bay in Wellington showing how effective their preparation and training for this event has been, and how dedicated they are in taking the title from the Australian’s for the first time.
Brett Hamer, a rower in the New Zealand Open Men’s team, said the Australian team “are the favourites to win for good reason and deservedly so,” but they still want to make their supporters proud and getting a win would be the ultimate way to do so.
“The Australian team have dominated this event both at home and over the ditch since its inception so we will have to be sharp,” he said.
“We just want to perform well, do our supporters proud, and see how we measure up against the fastest in the world,” Hamer added.
Likewise, a rower from the Open Women’s team, Georgia McLaren, said the goal is to “just get in the boat and perform to the best of our ability,” after training for this event from August last year.
“We want to cross the finish line with the sense of satisfaction that we put every single ounce of strength and energy into every race and didn’t leave anything behind,” she added.
Pride is one thing the Kiwis have in spades with every member of the team wanting to put their best foot forward for New Zealand.
Tim Marsden, sweep for the under-23 teams, said he’s ready for the challenge after preparing for it for years. But what he is most looking forward to is pulling the black cap on.
“I can’t wait to get out there and represent our country,” he said. “It’s especially exciting to have all four of the New Zealand Surf Boat crews from my club [Titahi Bay] as it’s the first time it has ever happened.”
Meanwhile, the Australian team says they are “extremely excited” to be travelling to New Zealand to compete.
“Some of the [Australian] team members are looking forward to reconnecting with friends they made last time we met at the Trans-Tasman Challenge, whilst the newer members of the team are thrilled to be representing their country for the first time,” said Australia Team Manager, Greg Heard.
“All of the Australian crews have been training extremely well and know they have to be at their very best if they are to secure wins over the strong New Zealand crews,” he added, while adding the Open Men’s crew from Avoca Beach are experienced here after competing in the same challenge, at the same beach, two years ago.
While the Open Women’s crew from Northcliffe is new, Hamer says they are “in excellent form having recently completed a successful domestic campaign.”
Racing starts at 10.00am on Saturday, before crews compete in three tests, followed by the finals, to decide the Trans-Tasman champions.
The North Island Surf Boat Challenge, a domestic competition, runs alongside the Trans-Tasman Challenge this weekend and brings in more crews from around the country making it a big weekend of surf boat racing. Their races continue into Sunday morning as part of the New Zealand Surf Boat 6-round series, where this weekend could be crucial as the penultimate round.
Alana McIsaac, Media & Communications Manager
Phone 027 515 7157