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Top Kiwi Surfers Soak Up High Performance Camp

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Over thirty of New Zealand’s top surfers converged on Mount Maunganui over the weekend (14-15 April) to take part in the first of three high performance training camps.

The elite group of athletes was led by top internationally ranked surfers Ricardo Christie (Gis), Ella Williams (WGM) and Billy Stairmand (Rag).  Attending surfers have an eye on future success both on the World Surf League Qualifying Series and the International Surfing Association events as we head toward the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The surfers were guided under the instruction of three coaches, each specialising in their fields – technique and strategy, strength and conditioning and sports psychology.

“I learnt so much this weekend across all three aspects of the camp,” said Christie at the end of the weekend when he spoke to all those that attended.  “I really enjoyed working with Matt (Scorringe) for the first time, despite us being good mates for a long time.  All the small things that we can work on as surfers add up to better performances.  Some aspects you need reminding about and some aspects at the camp this weekend were new,” he added, while also making specific mention of the boost he got from having the country’s top surfers all together for two days.

Whangamata’s Ella Williams echoed Ricardo’s sentiments when talking about bringing the such a large group of surfers together.

“It was a great weekend.  To get all of us together, and prior to when teams travel, and outside of actual events, helps build relationships and friendships and I think as a whole we were all super excited,” said Williams.

“With everything that was put in place like the team of coaches and the facilities we trained in, I am sure we will all be able to grow as athletes and that is motivating,” said Williams.

The camp also included a number of junior surfers enthusiastic to advance their surfing with the help of the coaching team.

“I loved the whole weekend, it was so beneficial for us up and coming surfers,” said Under 18 Boys National Champion Conor McLennan of Christchurch.  “It is crazy what you can do with your mind to help control situations and Jhan offered us so much of his knowledge.  Matt with the technical side of things and Olly and Kelly in the gym, they all gave us so much to take away and improve our performances” added McLennan.

Regional coaches from around the country attended the camp with the aim of taking learnings back to their local surfing communities and assist surfers at a regional and boardrider club level.  This component of the camps was identified as a vital step to increase the skills base of our coaches and coaching for a wider group of surfers so everyone has access to improved coaching not only the top level.

Hugh Ritchie travelled north from Christchurch for the weekend to upskill and immerse himself in the camp.

“I am pumped to get home and help our groms in the South Island improve their surfing and make it on to the international stage,” said Ritchie after the weekend.

Three high performance surfing camps are scheduled for 2018 as New Zealand surfers head toward the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games and World Junior Championship being held later in the year.

The camps are based out of the University of Waikato Adams Centre for High Performance at Mount Maunganui.

The remaining two high performance camps are being held on the following dates:

  • 30 June – 1 July – Camp 2
  • 25 – 26 August – Camp 3

The World Surfing Games are being held in Japan from the 15 – 22 September and will include our top three males and females.  The team will be selected on May 16 at the conclusion of our events season.

Details for the 2018 World Junior Surfing Championship have not been released by the ISA but the event will include twelve juniors in the Under 18 and Under 16 age categories (three in each category).  This team will be selected on May 23.

The initial stages of the high performance plan were put in place after a successful application to the International Olympic Committee for Olympic Solidarity Funding.  New Zealand’s top surfers and surfing minds came together in December 2017 for the first Olympic Workshop for athletes and coaches.  Since then a working group has been hard at work putting plans in place to lift the level of the high performance structure in New Zealand.

The qualification process for Tokyo 2020 has been determined by the IOC and the International Surfing Association.  New Zealand surfers will be able to qualify via the WSL World Championship Tour or via the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games.  You can read about the full qualification process via the ISA website.

A total of 20 males and 20 females from around the world will compete at the Olympic Games.  Kiwi surfers that qualify via the WSL or ISA will then need to be selected by the NZOC to represent New Zealand.

More about our coaching team:

Matt Scorringe – The Art of Surfing Founder/Head Coach
The Art Of Surfing offers surf-specific high performance coaching for all abilities, from the recreational surfer to the pro. Specialising in technique, video analysis, equipment and competition based fundamentals

Dr Oliver Farley, strength and conditioning coach

Since completing his Masters at AUT researching the physiological aspects of surfing, Olly obtained a role at the Hurley Surfing Australia High Performance Centre as lead exercise physiologist (2013-2016). During this time he completed his PhD researching surfing performance enhancement and worked with professional surfers competing on the World Championship Tour.

Jhan Gavala – Sports Psychologist

Jhan is a performance psychologist at HPSNZ. He currently holds portfolio’s with Yachting New Zealand (Olympic Development Squad and AON Fast Track Squad), Northern Mystics Netball, Canoe Racing New Zealand, New Zealand Women’s and Men’s 7’s Development Squad, and the New Zealand Black Fins. He is the Assistant Mental Skills Coach with The Blues Super Rugby Franchise, and is the Mental Skills Coach at the Auckland Rugby Union High Performance Academy. Jhan will also act as an Assistant Mental Skills Coach at the New Zealand Rugby U20’s Development Camps in 2018. He has been a practicing psychologist for 18 years.

Further Information
For further information on the training camps please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz. Or you can visit the Surfing New Zealand website for more information.


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