Auckland King & Queen Of The Harbour Kicks Off The 2015 Surfski World Series!

16/02/2015 by Steve Knowles

New Zealand’s National Ocean Racing Championship once again graces the Surfski World Series on the 7th March 2015, after a hiatus of a few years. International paddling greats have used this event to pick up some much sought after points in order to determine the best marathon distance surfski paddler in the world, and last year’s winner South African Dawid Mocke (3 X World Champion) was no exception. This year we have visiting legends like Oscar Chalupsky (12 X World Champion) and Sean Rice (winner of the 2013 International Canoe Federation World Championship) providing training clinics for paddlers.


Above: Dawid Mocke posts a convincing win in the 2014 King & Queen Of The Harbour, showing us why he has held the top spot on the world rankings for the preceding 4 years!

Following a sharp growth of the sport of surfski paddling in New Zealand in the early 2000’s, numbers are again growing quite significantly. The low-impact nature of the sport appears to have a serious appeal for crossover triathletes, iron-man/woman, multisporters, adventure racers and surf lifesavers. Unlike for example road cycling or running, competitors do not have to juggle cars, fumes and traffic, and even through the toughest of early morning speedwork sessions on the harbour, it is almost unheard of for surfski paddlers to develop significant injuries from paddling.


Above: The lead group pass through Auckland’s Inner Harbour on route to Waiheke Island in last year’s event.

“There’s a whole community behind this amazing sport, and behind this race! The support has been incredible!” says Pacific Ocean Paddlers Race Director Garth Spencer.

“In order to have the event included in the World Series, multiple course options are a must, to take advantage of downwind conditions on the day. Explore Group have come on board as an enthusiastic sponsor, and will be using their shiny new big yellow-and-black ferry to transport Stand Up Paddle Boarders, Surfski Paddlers and Waka-Ama Paddlers out or back over the various 24-26KM course options on the day.”

Course options include the ‘Waihetian Windrunner’ between Waiheke and Birkenhead, a well as ‘The Nihilistic Northerner’ between Gulf Harbour and Royal Akarana Yacht Club, the official Race Headquarters for this year event. Competitors will be hoping for a nice fresh 20 knot wind, with strategic choices of craft an important aspect of the sport across all three disciplines. International interest is high and the entries are flowing in – click on the below link to register now!


“With $10,000 worth of cash and prize up for grabs, the international and NZ paddling industry is really rallying behind the event, with support from Canoe Racing New Zealand for the National Ocean Racing Championships, manufacturers/suppliers Fergs Kayaks, FLOW Kayaks, Star Kayaks, Art In Surf, Exponential Performance Coaching, iPaddle, FENN Kayaks and Paddling Addiction on board with some fantastic prizes. Sharkskin, Vaikobi &Strongarm, purveyors of the worlds best paddle-wear, R-Line and Balance Sports Nutrition are providing race nutrition to keep paddlers performance-fuelled, and Good Health Choices magazine are behind the event to spread the word and further-promote NZ paddle-sports!”