Hawke's Bay's former world junior waterski racing champion Jaaron Fritz will chase a bodybuilding world title this weekend.
Fritz, 28, who won the under-17 title at the 2007 world waterski racing championships in Rotorua, will be one of five Hawke's Bay competitors in the 18-strong New Zealand team at the ICN world championships in Melbourne which will involve more than 700 competitors. He will compete in the men's physique open class.
"You always enter an event with the aim of winning but I will be happy with a top five finish. If I can achieve that at my first worlds I'll be able to build on that in future," Fritz said.
A Taradale premier club rugby player from 2012 to 2015, Fritz, did his first bodybuilding competition in 2017 and was unplaced. Last year he focused on his business Activate Fitness and Nutrition and celebrated his return with a second placing in a Wellington-hosted competition earlier this year.
"Bodybuilding is definitely different from rugby and waterski racing. While there is less wear and tear on the body there are still hard parts. But I enjoy the discipline and routine aspects of bodybuilding," Fritz said after a training session at Napier's Anytime Fitness Centre.
"By the time I arrive in Melbourne I know I will have done everything possible to be leaner and stronger," Fritz said.
He will decide after this weekend how serious he will take bodybuilding in the future. Fritz hasn't ruled out a return to rugby.
"My last game was in 2015 when I broke a leg for the second time. I would rather finish on my terms than through an injury and I have got itchy feet again."
The discipline and courage he displayed when recovering from his broken leg injuries, his first was in 2009 while playing for the St John's College first XV, has served him well in his bodybuilding pursuits. Fritz switched to the loose forward department during his final two years of secondary school after being a centre during his sixth to 12th grade career at the Napier Technical club.
In recent years Fritz has reduced his waterski racing commitments to the annual Bridge to Bridge race in Hamilton. He will compete with brother Logan on November 9.
His last full-on season of waterski racing was during the 2011-12 summer when he returned home from the New Zealand Waterski Racing Association prizegiving with eight trophies.
Other Hawke's Bay competitors in Melbourne this weekend will be Lance Welch, Rachael Palmer, Alysha Preece and Reilly Brown.