If you haven’t heard of the Ultimate Waterman competition, the name says it all. It is the ultimate contest for watermen. And recently, the New Zealand government announced they’re funneling $1.2 million into the event.
First held in New Zealand this year, the event pits the best all around watermen from all over the world in a variety of disciplines: short and longboard surfing, stand-up paddleboarding endurance, Waka-ama, big wave paddle-in surfing, underwater strength running and swimming, and prone paddleboarding.
“Some of these guys are ex world champions or present world champions, so they bring a lot of knowledge and a lot of followers, and that sort of country spirit,” said Daniel Kereopa, this year’s event winner. “We can share our culture and our different experiences from our countries and show the world who we are. And that’s what I want to do is show the world what New Zealand as a country and as surfing has taught me.”
The funding, thanks to the Ministry of Economic Development’s Major Event Development Fund, ensures that the event will continue for the next three years. According to Economic Development Minster Steven Joyce, the inaugural event was watched by more than 40 million people in the US. The event was “opportunity to showcase New Zealand’s coastlines and cities to the world, and attract a large international viewing audience through multiple TV, online and social media channels,” he said.