Whakatāne-born triathlete Hayden Wilde has enjoyed a fantastic season, ending the year ranked 14th in the world, capped by a stunning bronze medal at the ITU World Triathlon Tokyo test event in August.
With just days left in 2019, Wilde has just one more box to tick; defending his Eves Surfbreaker Triathlon title in Mount Maunganui on Friday.
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The Surfbreaker uses a unique six-legged format which involves a run, bike, swim, run, bike, swim. The doubling up on the usual triathlon format over the sprint distance gives spectators the opportunity to see the athletes up close six times during the race.
Wilde, who was born in Whakatāne but spends much of his time training in Tauranga, said he was looking forward to finishing the year with a race on home soil.
"I'm looking forward to racing, I train here and I've been based here for a couple of years so it's always nice to race in front of a home crowd. It's been a hefty few weeks so we'll see how the body reacts."
The swim takes place in the main beach meaning those who handle the surf best greatly enhance their chances of winning.
"I'm not much of a pool swimmer and the prediction is there will be four foot swells so that's something I'm looking forward to and I know some of the others will be as well.
"It sounds like there's a few people coming over - Kyle Smith won the Ironman 70.3 in Taupō just before. It's a bit of a sprint though so it's a completely different beast to the Ironman stuff.
"It is definitely a bit of fun just going as fast as you can and seeing what you can do to push the body to its limits."
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Wilde said, overall, he was "super stoked" with how the year, in which he was named Bay of Plenty Junior Sportsman of the Year, had panned out.
"It was definitely a breakthrough year and every year just keeps getting better and better. It's good to see no injuries coming through, the training's going well and I'm just looking at grafting, being consistent and trusting the process my coach gives me.
"At the moment, we're in a bit of a block phase, splitting that up with a few domestic races. It's always quite tough training for summer because it's always quite long - it's five or six months of just training with no racing. It's good to get some racing in.
"The ambition this year is obviously to try and qualify for Tokyo 2020 and head to the World Triathlon Champs. Then come home and race in Taupō, in the 2020 Ironman 70.3 World Championship. It's going to be a pretty busy end of year."
He is relatively new to the sport, in comparison to many of his competitors, and said he was loving every moment.
"Many people my age or a little bit older have been doing it for 10-25 years and I've only been doing it for about three years so I still have a big drive and a big push - I'm really enjoying it, it's quite new to me so I'm not bored of yet by any means."
Triathlon Tauranga events and development manager Paul Miller said the event usually attracted between 180-200 participants.
"This triathlon has managed to get to 35 years of age this year which makes it reasonably unique. It's probably one of the last triathlons that's still held in a surf beach - some like it and some hate it.
"It's one of those races where people sign up on the day or the night before when they know more about what the surf is going to do."
Miller said having the elite race held separately to the age group races gave both spectators and other participants the opportunity to watch some of the best in action.
Eves Surfbreaker Triathlon Schedule - Friday, December 27
7.20am: Sprint and super-sprint race start.
8.50am: Elite race briefing.
9.10am: Elite female race starts.
9.13am: Elite male race starts.
10.15am: All racing completed.