It's that time of year again when surfers around the country get ready to dig out their warmest wetsuits and booties to trek out to the beautiful Sandy Bay in Tutukaka for the annual Polar Bear Classic.
North Coast Boardriders is partnering up with Mammoth Modern Insulation once again to bring you installation number 38 of this epic cold-water competition, which will be held today and tomorrow.
Although the surf is unpredictable at this time of the year, in past years there has been some impressive swells and some even more impressive surfing from some of the top New Zealand wave riders. Entrants from all over the country make the trek north for the milder weather here in Tai Tokerau.
This year has seen an increase in the number of competitors, with all divisions filling up for the first time. Wait lists have had to be introduced to try and meet demand.
North Coast Boardriders is one of the first and only clubs in New Zealand to offer equal prize money for both the open men's and open women's division winners. For the second year running it is offering $1000 in prize money to both divisions.
"Equal prize money is just one step in recognising our top female athletes for their contribution to the sport and paving the way for equal opportunities within the surfing community and the surfing industry," contest director Tia Lord said.
"North Coast Boardriders is more than happy to contribute to the ground swell of support for this kaupapa."
The Polar Bear Classic was first held at Sandy Bay in 1981 as a fundraiser and was an excuse to invite other clubs for a good party in the middle of winter. This event is one of the country's longest-running surf competitions and a great way to combat the winter blues.
So head over to Sandy Bay this weekend to enter, spectate, participate, commemorate and check out some of the best surfers in the region (and country).
Food and coffee will be available throughout the weekend to keep you warm and there will be a DJ playing to keep your ears warm too.
Divisions for this year are:
Open Men, Open Women's, Over 40s, Over 50s/60s, Longboard (over 9ft), Under 18 boys, Under 14 boys, Under 16 girls, Under 10s mixed.