Photo courtesy of The Ultimate Waterman

Zane Schweitzer Wins 2017 Ultimate Waterman

This past week, eight elite waterman faced off in an aquatic battle royal to settle who would be crowned The Ultimate Waterman for 2017.

Now in its third year, the contest takes place over nine days and features eight unique disciplines held throughout the picturesque Southland region of New Zealand. After the final stroke had been taken, it was Maui’s Zane Schweitzer left standing to claim the prestigious title for the second year in a row.

With a stout field of watermen including SUP stars Connor Baxter, Caio Vaz and other elite watersports athletes specializing in a variety of disciplines, Schweitzer’s victory was hard-earned. To get a sense of just how competitive it was, consider this: there wasn’t a repeat winner in the overall event until the seventh discipline was contended—when Tahiti's Manoa Drollet won the underwater strength run to go along with his barrel surfing contest victory from earlier in the week.

The week began with Australian Jackson Maynard jumping out to the early points lead after triumphing in the first discipline of the week—the prone race. The Aussie would maintain this advantage through the first four events until Vaz overtook him following an upset victory in the longboard surf discipline and a runner-up finish in the SUP surfing contest.

The Brazilian’s lead would be short-lived.

After a slow start to the competition, Schweitzer found his groove just in time with a crucial victory in the SUP surfing discipline and strong runner-up finishes in the swim/underwater run and the SUP endurance race. These results catapulted him into the points lead over Vaz and left him needing a fourth-place showing in the final discipline of the week—the outrigger race—to hold on for victory.

The 23-year-old went on to earn that fourth-place victory in the outrigger race and made his quest to defend The Ultimate Waterman crown a success. Following his victory, he credited family for his prowess as an elite waterman.

"I hope they are all so proud, because I'm proud and super grateful to keep on carrying the torch,” Schweitzer said. “I'm going to hold it humbly and proudly, and bring The Ultimate Waterman title back to Maui."

Other standout performances from the week included Baxter dominating the SUP endurance race, inaugural Ultimate Waterman winner and New Zealand’s own Daniel Kereopa winning the shortboard surfing contest, and Maynard’s clutch victory in the outrigger race to jump from fourth to second in the final standings.

Final Overall Results

Zane Schweitzer              HAW            7250
Jackson Maynard           AUS              6910
Caio Vaz                           BRA              6755
Connor Baxter                HAW            6623
Manoa Drollet                 PFY              6516
Daniel Kereopa               NZL              6408
Chuck Glynn                   USA              5528
Coco Nogales                  MEX             4860


Recap of last year’s Ultimate Waterman.

Learn more about the champ, Zane Schweitzer.