Ultimate Waterman 2017 Announces Athletes

Eight of the world's best will return to New Zealand in April to compete for the coveted title of The Ultimate Waterman.

Now in its third year, this unique event will push the athletes to the brink as they travel and compete in some of the most challenging, yet spectacular conditions in New Zealand. The Ultimate Waterman is shifting its base to the Deep South, with Waterman Central to be hosted in Invercargill and competition to be staged on the Southland and Catlins coasts and Fiordland.

Five athletes are returning from last year's event, with Hawaii's Zane Schweitzer trying to defend his title. Schweitzer will again be joined by Daniel Kereopa (NZL), Connor Baxter (HAW), Caio Vaz (BRA) and Manoa Drollet (PYF), with three new athletes to be announced in the coming weeks.

Returning to compete in the event for the second time; world number one SUP paddler Connor Baxter says "this event challenges the athletes mentally and physically in every way – it is an ultra-waterman marathon!"

Greg Townsend, CEO of The Ultimate Waterman and Surfing New Zealand says "the event is a test of skill, strength and spirit, involving world class athletes across a range of exciting water sports. The conditions in the most southern parts of New Zealand are very diverse and will challenge the Watermen like never before".

The Ultimate Waterman will again see the athletes compete in eight grueling disciplines over nine days, chasing the best surf and conditions around the region. The events are; big wave paddle in surfing, waka ama, longboard, shortboard, stand-up paddle, SUP endurance, underwater strength run and swim, and prone paddleboarding.

Red Bull Media House will film the event for redbull.tv, taking The Ultimate Waterman and Southland's stunning scenery to its huge global audience. Greg Townsend says "Red Bull TV's coverage captures all the facets of this unique event and what it's all about – the sporting challenge, the skills of the competitors, tourism, culture, education and the environment."