The Lion Foundation New Zealand Surf League will be contested over two days in a new format that will feature teams from eight provinces and one international team.
These are the initial changes announced from a national events review led by the Surf Life Saving New Zealand National Sport Committee. A working group has been established to finalise the event format and programme for release by Friday 27 July. The final composition of the teams has not been determined yet but it will include athletes from under-16, under-19 and open age groups.
"We need to take the time to review all the feedback and determine the best option for the event both from an athlete and spectator perspective. This may be keeping separate age groups, or at the other extreme we may end up with one mixed team for each province. That's the challenge the working group has to solve over the next six weeks" says Brett Sullivan, General Manager, Programmes and Services for Surf Life Saving New Zealand.
Following consultation with local sport committees across the country, the two day format will not include under-14 competitors. "These changes were necessary to enable us to deliver a sustainable and successful Lion Foundation New Zealand Surf League next year" says Sullivan.
"While having the under 14 teams involved was exciting the feedback was that it's better for our young members to focus on Oceans '13, the Under 14 New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships at Mount Maunganui two weeks after the New Zealand Surf League. It was pretty difficult for these athletes to get so much time off school in the first month back and we also want to ensure they are training to become qualified lifeguards and striving for under-16 representative honours." Sullivan adds.
The national event review has also looked at all other events on the national calendar, a range of surveys were completed by athletes, team managers, coaches and surf officials. Local sport committees around the country also met to provide feedback into the review.
"It has been the most comprehensive review of our national events we've done. The feedback on improvements from last season has been positive and we want to ensure we keep our events fresh and exciting. It means a bit of a wait while we finalise event details but we're confident members will be in for an even better season ahead" says Sullivan.
Another notable change confirmed is an earlier start time for the State New Zealand Pool Championships in Wellington from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 October. To accommodate the growing popularity of this event competition will start at midday on Friday. The age groups contested in this event will also be aligned with other national events, bringing in a minimum age of 10 years old.
Click here for a full update on changes announced after the first stage of the national event review and next steps being taken to finalise event details for the summer of surf sport 2012/13.