A new World Surf League challenger event is set to hit Auckland shores early next year.

The New Zealand Herald first reported that Piha was being considered for an international event in June with the World Surf League confirming this morning the beach will be one of eight venues for their new Challenger Series.

Piha will be the first event of the season to host the new series.

"In 2020, the World Surf League (WSL) will launch the Challenger Series, a new level of competition that will provide athletes more opportunities at the highest level to qualify for the elite Championship Tour (CT)," the organisation said in a statement.


"As professional surfing continues to grow in popularity and the levels of performance go from strength to strength, the premium Challenger Series will look to build to a maximum of 10 events in the future."

In a bid to provide athletes more opportunities to qualify for the elite Championship Tour, the new level of competition has been dubbed the 'ultimate battleground for surfers'.

The 2020 Series will feature two segments: the Challenger Series and the QS 5,000, 3,000, 1,500 and 1,000 events.

World Champion Kelly Slater is keen to return to New Zealand. Photo / Photosport
World Champion Kelly Slater is keen to return to New Zealand. Photo / Photosport

It is understood that discussions have been held with arguably the greatest surfer of all time, 11-time men's world champion Kelly Slater, who is believed to be keen to head Down Under to use the event as preparation for the season-opening event on Australia's Gold Coast.

Seven-time women's world champion Stephanie Gilmore has also expressed her interest in heading to New Zealand, with this event the ideal excuse for her to.

In addition to the pair, 112 of the best male surfers in the world and 60 of the best female surfers in the world would ascend on Piha, culminating in 85 per cent of the world's top surfers.

There are also several Kiwis in the qualifying circuit, including Billy Stairmand, Ella Williams, and Piha's own Elliot Paerata-Reid.

The event would be broadcast live on TV to over 600 million people, while there would be at least 20 thousand attendees in person.


2020 WSL Challenger Series Schedule:

Piha, New Zealand (March), Men's and Women's
Ballito, South Africa (July), Men's
Huntington Beach, USA (August), Men's and Women's
Pantin, Spain (September), Men's and Women's
Ericeira, Portugal (September), Men's
Phillip Island, Australia (November), Women's
Haleiwa, Hawaii (November), Men's
Sunset, Hawaii (December), Men's
For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com