Top surf athletes to compete at Owen Chapman Cup event

31st December 2011

Red Beach Surf Club will play host to many of New Zealand’s top surf athletes when it stages the 56th Owen Chapman Cup surf carnival Saturday 7th January.

The athletes will be out to impress a number of district selectors who are wanting to finalise their squads and name their teams to contest the Lion Foundation Surf League at Mount Maunganui on February 11 & 12.

The Owen Chapman Cup carnival has always been contested at Red Beach, having been first held there in 1957 as a picnic carnival for Auckland’s east coast surf clubs. Now in its 56th year, it is the longest running club day in Australasia for surf athletes.

Over the years the carnival has become a mecca for the region’s lifeguard competitors and big fields have become the norm. Between 350 and 400 competitors are expected to take part in Saturday’s event.

As one of the highlights of the Auckland surf carnival circuit, the event attracts an abundance of top-calibre competitors. Along with Northern Region lifeguards there will be athletes from the Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Taranaki and Wellington. Several South Island competitors are also expected on the day. Current New Zealand champion club Mt Maunganui will be back for the event.

The Owen Chapman carnival ushers in the business end of the surf competition season as athletes begin the countdown to the Eastern Region, Northern Region and NZ Championships. Saturday’s outing will provide them with opportunities to assess their chances of success at these major events coming up.

Only the clubs from the Northern region are eligible to win the Owen Chapman Cup which is awarded for most overall points.

Surf races kick off the programme which gets under way at 9.00 am. They will be followed by board races for both men and women and then the board relays.  The surf boat and surf canoe series of races commence at 10.00 am.  The afternoon programme will see the Iron Man and Diamond Lady events, with the Taplin relays and beach flags wrapping up the day’s competition.