King of the Waves — Piha 2015

The 2015 New Zealand Surfing Nationals Standup Paddleboard Surf Race – “King of the Waves” — went down in epically wonky and wild conditions last week at Piha Beach, and made what one local competitor called, “One of the roughest, nastiest races we've ever done at Piha."

The race began in the sand, with competitors charging the surf zone and paddling out through 5- to 6-foot swell to round buoy markers just outside the lineup. They then paddled back through the surf, where head-high waves afforded no shortage of carnage, before running back to the start-line to begin their second lap. The two-lap race took an average of about thirty minutes for most competitors to complete.

First-place finisher in the Womans’ division, Penelope Strickland, described her experience: “The waves were massive out there. Both times that I had to run into the beach, I ended up wiping out. The first time I actually creased my board, so I did most of my race with a creased board."

In the Mens’ division, Hawaiian Zane Schweitzer finished first ahead of local NZ chargers Armie Armstrong (2nd) and Shayne Baxter (3rd).

"It was nuts,” Schweitzer said. “Just to finish this race was definitely a huge accomplishment.”

For more on SUP in New Zealand, click here.