New Event Challenges a Group of Elite Watermen

A Category 4 cyclone off the coast of New Zealand has arrived in time for the Ultimate Waterman.
By Nate Hoppes

UPDATE 3/19: The Ultimate Waterman crowned local waterman Daniel Kereopa its inaugural champion after thrilling longboard and stand-up endurance competitions.

The Ultimate Waterman challenge is in full-swing on the beautiful yet difficult shores of New Zealand. Eight of the world’s most elite watermen are competing in six different disciplines, including waka ama (traditional outrigger canoes), longboard, shortboard, SUP (stand-up paddling) surfing and SUP endurance.

As luck would have it, a Category 4 cyclone, “Cyclone Pam,” has been delivering unprecedented conditions for New Zealand’s East Coast. But a Category 4 cyclone also produces some of the toughest conditions on the planet.

Hawaiian watermen Kai Lenny, Kala Alexander and Connor Baxter are matched up against fellow American Danny Ching, Australian Mark Visser, local waterman Daniel Kereopa and legendary Tahitians Manoa Drollet and Georges Cronsteadt.

Watch highlights from day five of the Ultimate Waterman Challenge.

Watch highlights from day three of the Ultimate Waterman Challenge.

Watch highlights from day two of the Ultimate Waterman Challenge.

Watch highlights from the opening day of the Ultimate Waterman Challenge.

Current overall points after two of six disciplines:

1. Danny Ching (USA), 2,528

1. Manoa Drollet (TAH), 2,528
3. Mark Visser (AUS), 2,275

4. Georges Cronsteadt (TAH), 2,170
5. Kai Lenny (HAW), 1,400

6. Connor Baxter (HAW), 1,285

7. Daniel Kereopa (NZL), 1,253
8. Kala Alexander (HAW), 1,033

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