Nice work if you can get it.

Eight athletes are spending this week in and around the beaches of the South with the none-too-hard task of getting into the water and doing some work.

That is if you can call it work. It involves surfing, paddleboarding, waka ama and an underwater strength run and swim. All are competing in The Ultimate Waterman, a contest dreamed up by Surfing New Zealand to find the best all-round athlete in the water.

With the weather expected to deteriorate later in the week, the action has been white-hot and hectic so far.


Already half of the eight events have been completed inside two days with the places tight at the top of the leaderboard.

Raglan surfer Daniel Kereopa won the shortboard surfing discipline yesterday at Curio Bay and is just 20 points behind leader Jackson Maynard, of Australia.

Kereopa said he took the attitude of surfing as if he had nothing to lose and just surfed every wave he could.

Other surfers in the contest include defending champion Zane Schweitzer, of Hawaii, Connor Baxter, also of Hawaii, Caio Vaz, of Brazil, Manoa Drollet, of French Polynesia, Coco Nogales, of Mexico, and Chuck Glynn, of the United States.

The competitors will have no time for rest and are heading for the Fiordland coast today.

Big Bay is expected to be the destination for the surfing competition although it may depend on weather and the size of the surf.

The contest is scheduled to finish this weekend with the underwater strength test in Invercargill on Saturday and an outrigger canoe race on Sunday in Riverton.