A former Foxton puddle attracting national attention has spawned a New Zealand champion less a year after it opened.
All eyes were on the Off The Loop wakeboarding park when Foxton Beach 13-year-old Eve Ellen Skewes was crowned the senior women's champion recently.
Skewes was honing her skills alongside reigning men's champion Jason Heatherlea at the weekend. Heatherlea was lakeside at the park offering tuition to budding young boarders.
Skewes' mother Gry said her daughter had kitesurfed since she was nine and had a natural aptitude for board sports, like skateboarding and snowboarding too.
But even she and husband Gavin were surprised at how quickly success had come, and credited the Off the Loop venue.
"We're very lucky to have it," she said.
Eve was at the park every day practising her skills and having "runs" down the lane, pulling and practising tricks and turns on which they are judged in competition.
The Off the Loop wakeboarding park was celebrating its first anniversary this weekend.
It was the brainchild of Dean Stella, Angela Cook and Glen Butcher, keen kitesurfers who hatched a plan at Foxton Beach one afternoon.
There was no wind that day, which meant no kitesurfing, so boredom led to the idea of a wakeboarding park in a paddock owned by Stella. The paddock was fed groundwater through a natural spring, to create a surface to board on.
The impressive 185m-long water park is gaining national acclaim and is the newest of three in the country of its type, but arguably New Zealand's best, said Stella.
The towers and pulley system was signed off by a specialist engineer and they now had a "Grom Squad" of 24 boarders who trained every Wednesday night, he said.
The park catered for all levels of boaders with one section left clear for learners. Water quality from the spring was monitored regularly.