Catching some waves in freezing cold water is not for everyone but the Whanganui Boardriders have been doing it for half a century.

This year there was a new trophy at the club's annual "Cold Water Classic" - the Felix Newton Memorial trophy, remembering a rising star in the boardriders community who recently died in an accident.

"The surf's huge, there's logs, it's cold, middle of winter, so we're about to go out and enjoy it," said Matt Edmonds, President of the Whanganui Boardriders.

Vaughan Coveny said the club itself has no clubhouse and is just a bunch of blokes holding it together.


"We just had our 50th two years ago," Coveny said. "So 50 years for the club. We've got about 27 surfing members and about 17-plus supporters so it's the healthiest it's been for some time."

Considering the conditions, there was a large turnout for the river in the morning.

"A good session full of mud and river water rushing out," said Coveny. "So good fun!"

The competition was held in surf around the club's local break, Morgan St. All riders competed over a five-hour period, searching for that one winning wave.

"We went out for the river in the morning, then just cruised over to the Morgo, went out for a paddle," Jordan Coveny, a Whanganui Boardrider Grom said, understating the size of the waves.

While the waves didn't deter any, the cold was a challenge, even with a wetsuit. But not for one out-of-towner who decided to leave his wetsuit at home.

After hours of surfing, there could be only one winner of the memorial trophy, and it went to one of the dub-cee-gee's (West Coast Groms) - Felix's younger brother, Seb Newton.

It was a fitting tribute on his brother's birthday and after the competion, there was a balloon release ceremony at the bridge for Felix.


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