FIORDLAND, New Zealand - Fiordland has turned on spectacular conditions on day four of The Ultimate Waterman, resulting in plenty of change in the overall standings after five of eight events. Defending champion, Starboard SUP athlete Zane Schweitzer (HAW) has beaten SIC Maui athlete Caio Vaz (BRA) to take out the SUP surfing competition. However, Vaz has jumped from fifth to first overall, taking double whammy points in an event in which he is the world champion.
The eight Watermen were up at dawn for a one hour helicopter flight from Invercargill to Fiordland, taking in some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand. They were rewarded with a solid two metre offshore swell and an easterly breeze, which steadily dropped throughout the day, making for an exceptional level of competition.
Vaz narrowly avoided disaster and an early exit from the SUP surfing competition altogether when his leash broke inside the first 10 minutes of his heat. However he recovered to not only win the heat but to lead much of the final, dueling it out with Schweitzer before being pipped by the Hawaiian.
Schweitzer, who moves back into second overall, is elated to finally get his hands on one of the discipline winner trophies, five events into the competition. “The Ultimate Waterman is by far my favorite event to compete in and I didn’t want to go home without one of those beautiful paua encrusted trophies,” he said. “I’m stoked to finally feel good in one of the surfing events, as I’ve been struggling for rhythm in the past few days”.
Vaz leads Schweitzer by 87 points, with New Zealand’s Daniel Kereopa back in third and previous leader Jackson Maynard (AUS) dropping to fourth.
The full table is:
- Caio Vaz - 4920
- Zane Schweitzer - 4833
- Daniel Kereopa - 4578
- Jackson Maynard - 4422
- Manoa Drollet - 4181
- Connor Baxter - 3180
- Chuck Glynn - 2859
- Coco Nogales - 2615
Connor Baxter, Chuck Glynn and Coco Nogales still have their double whammy points up their sleeves.
All four surfing disciplines have now been completed, leaving SUP endurance, underwater strength run and swim, and waka ama (outrigger) to come. The athletes will have a rest day tomorrow (Wednesday, April 5 NZT), but will see the sights and of Southland as they gear towards a big weekend. Waterman Central will open at Queen’s Park Cricket Oval in Invercargill on Saturday, with an event expo, stalls, big screen and a chance to meet the athletes.
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