Thirty of New Zealand's top surfers including Western Bay's Elin Tawharu, Alex Dive, Matt Hewitt, Raiha Ensor, Lee Ririnui and Georgia Wederell converged on the University of Waikato Adams Centre for High Performance at Mount Maunganui last weekend to take part in the first of three training camps.
The elite group of athletes was led by top internationally ranked surfers Ricardo Christie (Gis), Ella Williams (WGM) and Billy Stairmand (Rag). The attending surfers have an eye on future success both on the World Surf League Qualifying Series and the International Surfing Association events ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The surfers were guided under the instruction of three coaches, each specialising in their fields of technique and strategy, strength and conditioning and sports psychology.
"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," Williams said.
"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."
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 board rider club level.
This component of the camps was identified as a vital step to increase the skills base of coaches for a wider group of surfers so everyone has access to improved coaching, not only the top level.
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 remaining two camps are on June 30-July 1 and August 25-26 in Mount Maunganui.
The World Surfing Games are in Japan from September 15-22 and will include New Zealand's top three males and females. The team will be selected on May 16 at the conclusion of the events season.
Details for the 2018 World Junior Surfing Championship have not been released by the ISA but the event will include 12 juniors in the Under 18 and Under 16 age categories (three in each category). This team will be selected on May 23.