The New Zealand Junior Surfing team is poised and ready to compete on the eve of the 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship being held in Japan.
Host nation Japan is set to usher in a new era for surfing, three years out from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The Kiwis have spent the past three days familiarising themselves with the waves and culture of Japan.
"The team are in good spirits and they are all surfing well in the tiny conditions we have had so far" said team coach Khan Butler (Mount Maunganui).
"I think the two training weekends at the Mount were good prep for here. They have been holding their own out amongst the pack, which was our aim when surfing the comp bank and now they have heaps of confidence coming into the event."
The team contested the SANZ Trophy against South Africa yesterday as a warm up to the main event.
Saturday will see the team participate in the Parade of Nations and the Sands of the World Ceremony before the surfing action commences on Sunday and runs through until October 1.
The swell is forecast to build throughout the first three days of the event before tapering off for the latter half of the week. The swell forecast will please the New Zealand team despite their preparations in the small waves.
The 12 Kiwi team members are led by Mount Maunganui surfers.
Last year's bronze medallist Elin Tawharu steps up a division and is joined by Raiha Ensor, the two girls aiming for podium finishes this year. Ensor also competed at the ISA World Surfing Games held in France earlier in the year so has had a good build-up of international competition this year.
Kehu Butler (Mount Maunganui) has spent much of this year competing overseas and will go into the Boys' Division as one of the favourite surfers at the event. He is joined by Elliot Brown (Dunedin) and Jonas Tawharu (Mount Maunganui), two surfers who attended the Fiji Launch Pad High Performance Camp in July.
Second time team member Jared Gebert (Ohope) rounds out the four boys as a late replacement for Daniel Farr (Tara), who is continuing his World Qualifying Series campaign with a QS3000 event in the Philippines.
Gold Coast-based Kaya Horne, who grew up in Mount Maunganui, is the most experienced of the surfers in the Under 16 Boys' Division having contested the event twice before.
Horne is joined by three first-time team members including William Van Der Beek (Mount Maunganui), Caleb Cutmore (Hamilton) and Dylan Preston (Mount Maunganui). The girls are represented by Saffi Vette (Gisborne) and Tegen Bishop (Canterbury) on debut at the worlds.
2017 Moko New Zealand Junior Surfing Team
Under 18 Boys
Elliott Brown (Dun), Jared Gebert (Ohope), Jonas Tawharu (Mnt), Kehu Butler (Mnt)
Under 18 Girls
Elin Tawharu (Mnt), Raiha Ensor (Mnt)
Under 16 Boys
Caleb Cutmore (Ham), Dylan Preston (Mnt), Kaya Horne (Mnt/Queensland), William Van Der Beek (Mnt)
Under 16 Girls
Saffi Vette (Gis), Tegen Bishop (Chch)
Team Manager: Damien Galvan (Mnt), Team Coach: Khan Butler (Mnt)