AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Smiles, surf and sun were prescribed to kiwi kids with Cystic Fibrosis today as The Ultimate Waterman kicked off its official events at Orewa Beach, Auckland. All eight international watermen who are here to compete in the multi-discipline surf competition took part in the one-on-one sessions with the kids aged between five and sixteen years old. It was the very first Mauli Ola Foundation surf experience in New Zealand and an opportunity for the kids to meet these amazing athletes, have some fun and forget about their illness even for just a few hours.
Mauli Ola, which means “breath of life”, is dedicated to providing hope and confidence to individuals living with genetic diseases. Since 2007 the foundation has run over 150 surf experiences for children with Cystic Fibrosis as a natural therapy. Mauli Ola Vice President and The Ultimate Waterman competitor Kala Alexander of Hawaii says it is a huge honor and privilege to bring Mauli Ola to Aotearoa.
“Seeing the smiles and stoke for surfing from these young kids is amazing. To start the event off with a day like this giving back to the youth and sport of surfing is perfect,” says Kala.
Pictured: (L) Mauli Ola Vice President Kala Alexander and Oli Bradley. (R) Zane Schweitzer from Hawaii and the Payne brothers. | Photos Courtesy: The Ultimate Waterman
Cystic Fibrosis patients have been found to benefit from surfing as the salt water can loosen up the mucus in the lungs. The Ultimate Waterman competition starts on Saturday at Takapuna Beach, Auckland with the 16km Outrigger Canoe endurance race. Seven other disciplines will unfold throughout the country over the course of the next eight days, with the winner being decided on Sunday 20th March at the Auckland Viaduct.
The athletes who are poised to take part in this multi-discipline surf event for 2016 are: Starboard SUP’s Connor Baxter and Zane Schweitzer (HAW), Mark Visser (AUS), Kala Alexander (HAW), FCS SUP’s Danny Ching (USA), Manoa Drollet (PYF), 2015 winner Daniel Kereopa (NZL), and Caio Vaz (BRA). An official Maori welcome to New Zealand will take place tomorrow at Okahu Bay at Orakei, Auckland where the athletes will paddle out on a traditional Maori war canoe.
To see more news on The Ultimate Waterman competition, click HERE.