Organisers of The Ultimate Waterman surf competition are rubbing their hands together at the prospect of unprecedented conditions thanks to cyclone Pam due to hit New Zealand early next week.
The category four cyclone is expected to deliver huge swells the length of the East Coast starting on Sunday in the north and into the middle of the week in the south.
The Ultimate Waterman is a world first surf contest that involves eight of the world's finest watermen who will compete in six surf disciplines: short and longboard; stand-up paddle and endurance; Waka-ama and big wave paddle in surfing.
The Ultimate Waterman Contest Director, Ben Kennings, says the timing is uncanny and is set to deliver the best possible conditions for the big wave paddle-in component which could take place as early as Monday.
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"It's looking like we'll head to the east coast of the North Island to capitalise on the conditions there," Kennings said. "We have always planned to go where the surf conditions are best, but never expected a cyclone of this magnitude to dictate where we would be surfing."
The Ultimate Waterman forecaster Swellmap.com is expecting some unprecedented swell sizes from the cyclone.
"We are looking at Cyclone Pam delivering the peak of the swell to the North East Coast during Monday with the swell falling away rapidly as the system tracks below the East Cape," said swellmap.com Director Brett Beamsley.
"From that point the system will deliver swell down the entire coastline all the way to the Otago Region where we predict it will peak on Wednesday."
"The cyclone is showing signs of tracking closer and closer to New Zealand which means there will be more wind and rain than first predicted?"
The watermen arrive in New Zealand today and the first competition takes place on Saturday with the Waka-ama endurance race at Takapuna Beach and continues over eight days until 21 March.