Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Explosions in the deep: how Daniel Kereopa survived Papatowai

Photo: photomarkstevenson.com

Remember that explosion of a wave at Papatowai back in 2006? We'd almost forgotten... until we were reminded by the latest issue of free surf magazine Smorgasboarder, which is dedicated to surf travel and includes a feature on surfing big waves in Dunedin. As you know the whole deep south of the South Island is wave rich, especially the Catlin's Papatowai—a break exposed to the full force of the Southern Ocean. This right-hand reef break has a massive steep ledge takeoff, followed by a 300 meter ride that starts working at 10ft and can easily reach 30ft plus.

After the Smorgasboarder team had contacted us about being in the magazine, we thought of that nutty wave. For it was at Papatowai back in 2006 that Daniel Kereopa—then sponsored by Seventhwave—stroked into what was called 'New Zealand's biggest paddle-in wave', earning him the cover of Kiwi Surf and the Oakley/ASL $25,000 Big Wave Award (for non-jetski assist). "I just paddled and paddled, it didn't let me in that easy as the wind was offshore" recalles Daniel about his 42ft (13m) wave. "I got over the ledge and felt the board go and held my line. That was definitely one of the best surfing days I've ever experienced." 

Captured by numerous photographers, none better than Mark Stevenson who was shooting from the water for a number of hours, had the best position and  the angle for the bomb wave. It was an incredible day. It was world-class and as good as [Hawaii's] Waimea Bay when it's been pumping.

Daniel had been out in snow-lined, 7-8˚C waters for over 7 hours. How did he survive? In one of our early MAX models, built with an attached hood for the occasion. We thought we'd give Dan a call after all these years to ask him how his MAX fared:

“That day was the first time I put on my purpose-built MAX and nerves were running high. I'd chosen red for safety, just in case I'd die or something (laughs). With attached hood, gloves and booties—and the adrenaline pumping—I didn't feel the cold at all. I was out paddling for over 7 hours. The custom-fit meant I wasn't restricted at all, allowing me to paddle into the bigger ones. In fact I still wear that wetsuit today on the really cold days: that's the mark of a quality wetsuit.”

The MAX was put through its paces in some of the hardest conditions around, and passed with flying colours. Since then we've tinkered and tailored the hooded MAX into the trusty model it is today, including the versatile interchangeable hood option.

MAX 4/3 with interchangeable hood. click here for more info

Friday, July 20, 2012

Kiwi champ off to the 2012 TECHNO 293 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Meet Xanthe Bowater, 16 year old windsurfer from Lyttelton. Brought up in a sailing family so yachting is certainly strongly in Xanthe’s genes. She has been racing dinghies since she was eight years of age and commenced windsurfing shortly after. She is the only South Island windsurfer competing in National course racing events, and one of only a handful of top young Female Windsurfers in New Zealand.
Xanthe entered in her first competition at 13 and won the North Island title that same year. The following year she was Nationals under 15 champion then kicked off her International career, competing in New Caledonia, and taking a podium position at just 14 years old.
In 2011 Xanthe headed over to San Francisco with six other keen young windsurfers to represent New Zealand at the Techno 293 World Champs.
Her results for the last season have been impressive, achieving top places in every competition she enters. This is her first season in slalom racing; she won the Canterbury Championships Junior event and was the youngest female competitor of the Nationals. Winning both the New Zealand and Oceanic under 17 titles and the prized Kendall cup series earlier this year Xanthe is definitely a name to watch.

In August she will be joining the International Competition once again travelling to the Netherlands to compete in the 2012 Techno World Championships. Whilst over there she is hoping to get extra training in with some of the European teams and also race in the Baltic regatta, Poland.
Having Windsurfing dropped from The Olympics this year has been a big blow but Xanthe has adopted a really positive attitude, focusing her attention on the World Championships and the other six competitions she has over the next seven months (which include another crack at the Australian Youth trials and Down Under Series).
She will also be competing to retain the Kendall Cup once again next year, competing in six regattas during the New Zealand sailing season.
Xanthe is heavily involved in her home club, Naval Point Club Lyttelton, playing a major part in the promotion of Windsurfing as a fun and competitive sailing option. She has been helping alongside local Windsports club, Windsurf New Zealand and Yachting New Zealand to make this happen, obviously seriously committed to the sport! She is now into her second season of teaching ‘Learn to Windsurf’ at the club, loving introducing children and adults to the sport that means so much to her, as well as helping out at the Club and Estuary as much as she can.
We are delighted to support Xanthe, and have her as part of the Seventhwave team.

Xanthe also has support from the following companies:

2012 TECHNO 293 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - 11th to 18th August 2012
International Sailing Center Medemblik, Netherlands