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Billy Stairmand and Saffi Vette to Surf Teahupoʻo as they chase Olympic Glory

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From: NZOC Media Release
7 May 2024

Billy Stairmand and Saffi Vette to Surf Teahupoʻo as they chase Olympic Glory

Raglan’s Billy Stairmand and Gisborne’s Saffi Vette have been named to the New Zealand Team for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The surfers have just spent two weeks training at the Olympic venue of Teahupoʻo in Tahiti, which is regarded as one of the most epic reef breaks in the world.

“The wave itself is intense,” said Stairmand.

“It’s short and sharp and really critical, there’s no room for errors but I learnt so much on my last trip over there, I got some amazing barrels and became way more comfortable and confident in that lineup.”

Paris will be the second Olympic Games for eight-time National Champion Stairmand, while it will be the debut of Vette who recently secured a place on the coveted World Surf League Challenger Series, alongside some of the best surfers in the world.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Vette.

“I watched the Olympics growing up but never thought surfing would be involved. It’s a huge opportunity to be amongst so many amazing athletes and it’s a pretty massive achievement for a girl from Gisborne.”

“It’s unbelievable to be going to my second Olympics, I’m super proud,” added Stairmand.

“I’m stoked to be representing New Zealand again and I know I can do something special over there.”

For Vette the accomplishment is particularly meaningful. The 22-year-old lost her father Andrew Vette in 2020. She says he was the driving force behind her surfing.

“Dad introduced me to surfing and I’m so grateful for that.

“I want to work hard for something that he’s given me, this opportunity to excel in a sport that I love. I also want to thank my mum as well, she’s always been amazing and has really helped me to keep the dream alive these past few years. I wouldn’t be where I am without them and without the community I’ve had around me.”

The duo secured their Olympic spots with strong performances at the 2023 International Surfing Association World Games in El Salvador.

NZOC CEO Nicki Nicol congratulated the pair.

“It’s fantastic to have surfing in the Games and to have a male and female New Zealander representing us in Tahiti,” says Nicol.

“We wish them all the best for competition and we will be cheering them on as surfing makes it’s second ever Olympic appearance.”

The Olympic surfing competition will take place over four days in a nine day swell window, from 27th of July to 4th of August.

Athlete Bios:

Billy Stairmand

Billy Stairmand is an Olympian and eight-time New Zealand Surfing Champion.

The regular footer placed ninth in Tokyo, where he was the first New Zealand male to ever compete in surfing at the Olympic Games.

Stairmand lives in Raglan and has competed in top surfing competitions around the globe, including on the World Surf League’s Challenger Series.

He plays basketball and golf and is a keen snowboarder and skateboarder.

Saffi Vette

Saffi Vette qualified for the Paris Olympic Games with her performance at the 2023 ISA World Surfing Championships in El Salvador.

Vette grew up in Gisborne where she was coached by her late father and renowned surfer Andy Vette.

The regular footer won the 2021 New Zealand Open Surfing Title and is known for her powerful manoeuvres.

In 2024, Vette secured a place on the coveted World Surf League Challenger Series alongside some of the best surfers in the world.

About The New Zealand Team for Paris 2024

In July and August 2024, New Zealand will take on the world at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Around 180 New Zealand Team athletes will compete at the Games, with the stunning city of Paris set to host 10,500 athletes from 206 nations.

With competition taking place at the Palace of Versaille, beneath the Eiffel Tower, inside Stade de France, and around landmarks such as Les Invalides, Place de la Concorde, Hotel de Ville and along the Seine, the Games are expected to be a spectacular event.

The Zealand Team is once again set to shine in sports from equestrian, to rowing, rugby sevens,
swimming, canoe sprint, sailing, athletics, cycling and more, while New Zealanders can check out the action in incredible new urban sports including skateboarding, sport climbing, breaking and 3×3 basketball.


For media enquiries please contact:
NZOC Communications and Content Manager
Lewis Hampton
+64 27 451 8090

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