The inaugural Darcy Price NZ Ocean Surfski Series it set to be launched on Saturday with the Poor Knights Crossing in Tutakaka – one of the blue ribbon surfski events in New Zealand – featuring as the opening race of the 2019-20 season.
Formed to promote the sport across the ski paddling community and provide more of a narrative to the surfski season, the hope is that as well as encouraging participation and competition, it will also open a pathway to international competition.
Five events have been selected to be part of the inaugural series and following the Poor Knights Crossing on Saturday, Auckland’s King and Queen of the Harbour event – moved from its traditional April slot – will stage the second event on November 30.
Tauranga will host the Bhutty Moore-morial Race on February 1 before the series takes a stop on the South Island on February 15 for Nelson’s King of the Bay.
The brand new Heads to Harbour Race in Whakatane on April 25 – an event which will also double as the New Zealand Surfski Championships – will form the climax to the inaugural series.
The series is named in honour of Darcy Price, who passed away last year. A driving force behind ski paddling in New Zealand, he was the man behind the creation of the Takapuna Beach Series surf races and King and Queen of the Harbour.
A paddler will accrue points throughout the series with their best three results counting towards the series events, with more points weighted towards the Heads to Harbour event in Whakatane. See more below.
It is hoped that the races and events will be open and could vary each year with one of them selected to be the New Zealand National Championship.
Andrew Mowlem of the CRNZ Distance Paddling Committee said: “The main purpose of the series is to promote surfski across the whole of the paddling community. We took inspiration from Australia, in coming up with a series of races around the country, to gain more engagement as a collective community.
“We have also tried to put more of a ranking system around the series and we have selected races which meet the objective of being proper ocean ski races, which on the right day will have good downwind conditions and be a true measure of ocean racing.
“A big focus is on engaging the younger paddlers and getting more surf club and sprint paddlers involved. In the long-term the hope is to send full teams to the ICF Ocean Racing World Championships and boosting numbers nationally; particularly in the under-18 and under-23 grades.”
For more details of the Poor Knights Crossing visit https://www.wakaama.co.nz/racecalendar/lookup/1499
The series rankings will be determined by points earned by paddlers from each race they enter.
Races are split into two levels:
The winner of national champs will earn 400points
National champs for the 2019/2020 season will be the Heads to Harbour (Whakatane) on the 25th April 2020
The winner a series race will earn 300points
There are four other series events
For race dates and details please see THIS PAGE.
Points will then be distributed as follows