SunLive – Paddle boarding and volleyball finals at the Mount

Over the weekend, the Waterbourne Charitable Trust hosted more than 160 athletes in Mt Maunganui, where perfect conditions allowed the festival to crown multiple national champions for stand-up paddle boarding and beach volleyball.

Ranging conditions enabled a range of athletes to flourish where it was clear a new emerging youth are growing through the ranks in New Zealand.

The final day of water sports saw both paddle boarding and wingfoiling take place in very challenging 2m swells, creating excitement on the beach.

“I am absolutely stoked to win the NZ Overall Men’s Championships this year and to share the podium with such talented paddlers,” says newly crowned overall national champion Fergus Dunlop.

“The standard of competition was really high again this year and weather conditions were challenging,” the 19-year-old states.

“It was a shame there were some absences on the start line due to Covid-19 and we look forward to seeing them back racing again soon.”

Racing was incredibly close on the final day where reigning national champion Ollie Houghton demonstrated his dominance after his win in the distance on Saturday March 5.

As Ollie missed the opening day of racing, it was always going to be hard to win the overall title but he said “a mad sea out there, with a whole ton of amazing competitors with a stacked lineup. There is a bunch of amazing young paddlers coming up through the ranks and you couldn’t have asked for better conditions.”

Event director Laurence Carey was also pleased with the event.

“Having a city which can so easily host all components of the EVES NZ SUP Nationals is amazing, we completed the Sprints in Wairoa Reserve and all other components in Mt Maunganui,” says Laurence.

“Not only did we see amazing paddle boarding, but having top NZ athletes like Josh Armit and Brianna Orams who used Waterbourne as a cross training event for the 2024 IQ.

“Windfoiling Olympic campaigns shows how important Waterbourne is become for the athletes”

“With more than 80% of athletes from outside the region, it has been a huge success, and a much needed boost to the region”

Sunday also saw the finals of the Men and Woman Beach Volleyball National Championships. With two days of incredibly tight competition it was down to the wire for both the men and woman.

“The weekend was a huge success given the heightened restrictions from Covid-19,” says operations manager of the GJ Gardner Beach Volleyball National Championships Trent Weebly.

“Beach volleyball in NZ is a minority sport, so showcasing the National Championships in collaboration with Waterbourne Beach Festival is match made in heaven. We hope to continue the partnership in the future to grow not only beach volleyball but all beach activities in NZ.”

Waterbourne will be back in 2023 where if restrictions are lifted it will include all components including the music concerts with international headliners.

“This year was only a taste of what Waterbourne will be like in the future,” says Laurence.

“Due to restrictions we had to cancel our concerts with international headliners from the UK, but we cannot wait to bring this to Waterbourne when possible”.

Results: Paddle Boarding

Women (Overall)

1) Jo Aleh

2) Angie McKee

3) Trudy Lile

Men (Overall)

1. Fergus Dunlop

2. Quinn Piritt

3. Gavin Houghton

Wing foiling


1. Josh Armitt

2. Josh Boyle

3. Jeremy Stephenson

Beach Volleyball


1. Alice Zeimann & Shaunna Polley

2. Olivia MacDonald & Julia Tilley

3. Anna Harrison & Antonia Harrison


1. Ben O’Dea & Mike Watson

2. Johan Timmer & Tom Reid

3. Sam O’Dea & Brad Fuller

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