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COVID Hammers Start to Domestic Surfing Season

Continued COVID restrictions on outdoor events have forced the cancellation of the National Scholastic Surfing Championships today (Tuesday 21st September).  This coincides with the postponement of the Sticky Johnson Primary School Championships presented by Skullcandy.

The two events were set to be the focal point of the October school holidays for young surfers throughout Aotearoa with well over 200 entries received across the two events.

Today’s decision comes on the on the back of government guidelines retaining the 100 person capacity at outdoor events under alert level 2.

“We simply can’t meet the guidelines currently in place and despite some best laid plans around scheduling at events and limiting those at the beach, in reality, each event would have attracted well over 100 people at any time of the day” said Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings.

The National Scholastic Championships were scheduled for Taranaki in the second week of the holidays (11 – 15 October) and the event has been held annually since 1989.  Twelve regional teams from around the country were set to compete at the Scholastic Championships and challenge defending champions Canterbury for the title.

The Sticky Johnson Primary School Champs presented by Skullcandy were scheduled for the first weekend of the holidays (2-3 October) and will now be held on the 4-5 December, event restrictions permitting.  Being a two-day event made rescheduling much easier for this event and with the support of Gisborne Boardriders and the South Island Surfing Association, a backup date was determined.

The cancellation of the Scholastic Championships will be particularly tough for participants to swallow after having qualified for regional teams, trained, and fundraised for months to get to the event.

“Like many young sports people around the country that have had their final junior seasons disrupted, we have a number of surfers that were eyeing their final year in age groups, hunting individual titles and participating as part of teams that have built depth in previous years to challenge for the overall shield.  These young surfers won’t get that opportunity now which is a real bummer” added Kennings.

The National Scholastic Championships comprises eight age group divisions for males and females across both shortboard and longboard disciplines.  Up to 140 surfers were expected to contest the event this year.

The 2021 National Scholastic Surfing Championships is sanctioned by School Sport NZ who has backed the decision to cancel and the event is also supported by the New Zealand Sports Collective and Sky Sport Next.

For more information on these events please contact Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

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Author: Ben Kennings