New Zealand Surfing Team heads to Puerto Rico for 2024 ISA World Surfing Games

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For immediate release

08 February 2024

From: Surfing New Zealand
Sport: International Surfing
Event: 2024 ISA World Surfing Games, Puerto Rico
Divisions: Open Men and Open Women
Date: 23rd February – 3rd March 2024
Location: Puerto Rico
Websites: Surfing New Zealand and ISA

New Zealand Surfing Team heads to Puerto Rico

A talented team of New Zealand athletes has been selected for the 2024 ISA World Surfing Games being held at the end of this month in Puerto Rico. The team take on the final qualification opportunity for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Billy Stairmand (Rag), Kehu Butler (Mnt) and Elliot Paerata-Reid (Piha) will represent New Zealand in the Men’s Division.

Stairmand and Butler gained selection through 2023 World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series and Paerata-Reid through his top 35 ranking on the 2024 World Surf League (WSL) Australia/Oceania Qualifying Series.

Paige Hareb (Tara), Saffi Vette (Gis) and Pia Rogers (WGM) will represent New Zealand in the Women’s Division.  Hareb was selected via the WSL Challenger Series like Stairmand and Butler with Vette via the 2024 WSL Australia/Oceania Qualifying Series and Rogers through being last year’s NZ Surf Series champion.

Stairmand follows on from his Australia/Oceania QS campaign this summer where he is currently placed 23rd overall.

On his lead up to the games Stairmand said “There has been plenty of waves around at home and its been solid so I’ve been trying to push a little harder in the bigger conditions”.

“I haven’t been to Puerto Rico so I am super excited,  the waves look amazing and there are some heavy slabs so ill be using it as practice for chopes and learning as much as I can whilst earning that medal”.

Butler will also look to continue his success from his 2023 Challenger Series campaign. Not unfamiliar with big international events, Butler has his eyes set for the top of the podium and qualifying for the Olympics.

On the women’s side of the draw, Hareb returns to the event looking to better her 25th placing at 2023 World Surfing Games held in El Salvador where injury hampered her qualification efforts. Sitting in second place on the 2024 Australia/Oceania Qualifying Series, Hareb looks to be a favourite for the event as she aims to for that elusive Olympic qualification.

Vette heads to Puerto Rico having already qualified for Paris 2024.

The youngest member of the team will look to back up her 2023 performance. Rogers makes her second appearance in the New Zealand Team after first representing New Zealand at the 2023 World Surfing Games.

“As the youngest in the team, I feel like there’s a lot to learn,” she exclaims. “This event has come around super-fast, but I am enjoying the lead up to and excited for the event itself, warm water and a new place, super pumped”.

The competition is set to take place in the municipality of Arecibo on the world-renowned reef breaks of Margara, a heavy water wave, and the twin breaks of El Pico and Rastrial, both offering solid waves mainly favouring lefts.

The pinnacle event is the second Olympic qualifying opportunity for our top surfers with two places at Paris 2024 up for grabs.  The top five unqualified males and top seven unqualified females will earn spots for Paris 2024.

The New Zealand Surfing team will compete at the event from February the 23rd to March 3rd.

Over 50 countries and 250 athletes will participate at the event.  The surfing for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be held at Teahupoo, Tahiti.

The 2024 New Zealand Surfing Team is as follows:

Men 

Billy Stairmand (Rag)

Elliot Paerata-Reid (Piha)

Kehu Butler (Mnt)

Women 

Paige Hareb (Tara)

Pia Rogers (WGM)

Saffi Vette (Gis)

Team Coach: Matt Scorringe
Team Manager: Michelle Rellis

The most recent World Surf Games event was held in El Salvador, where a six-strong team of Kiwis attended and placed 13th in the world. New Zealand has been attending the ISA World Surfing Games since the 60s and continues to do so this year with the team travelling to Puerto Rico for one of the most important events of the year.

About International Surfing Association (ISA)  
The International Surfing Association (ISA) is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the World Governing Authority for surfing, bodyboarding, SUP and surfriding.  It was originally founded as the International Surfing Federation in 1964 and has been running world championships since 1964, and the Junior World Championships since 1980.

Further Information 
For further information on the New Zealand Surfing Team please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

Imagery 
High resolution action images of team members will be available to media free of charge upon request.

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