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Female Chair to Lead Surfing New Zealand 

Back row – Deb Bowry, Russell Ritchie, Greg Allnutt
Front row – Ella Williams, Michelle Rellis, Billy Stairmand, Sarah Rogan, Matt Scorringe

Surfing New Zealand heads into 2022 with a female chairperson – the first time the organisation has been led by a female since its inception in 1963.

Christchurch’s Deb Bowry was voted into the role by her fellow board members this month.

Bowry has been part of the Surfing New Zealand board of eight members for just over a year and will lead the team, including four females, into 2022.

“I am so very proud to be the first female chair of Surfing New Zealand and it shows our organisation is very much a part of the progress being made in gender equality for sporting organisations in New Zealand” said Bowry.

Bowry has spent much of her time in and around aquatic sports, as a surf lifesaving club member, as a volunteer for national surfing events held in the South Island and as a previous board member of New Zealand Water Polo for a term of five years.

“I think what attracted me to the governance role at Surfing New Zealand, was that I felt I could make a difference with my aquatic background and that I could help make some subtle changes needed for the good of the surfing community in our country” added Bowry, who was on hand to welcome home our first Olympic athletes Ella Williams and Billy Stairmand in August, one of her highlights to date.

“To see how our surfers were treated and respected in the same manner as Tokyo medal winners when they arrived home with the wider team was truly a proud moment.  They had put surfing on the map for New Zealand, especially with the sport being part of the Olympics for the first time ever,” said Bowry.

It is opportunities like these that Bowry is looking grasp going forward as well as working closely with Ben Kennings, Surfing New Zealand’s newly appointed Chief Executive and his management team.

“As a board, we all have different strengths from our own professional and volunteer backgrounds.  We are inclusive and live in a diverse society and I will be calling on the board for their assistance and expertise heading into 2022” said Bowry who works in the secondary school sports space.

“We want to see Kiwis enjoy surfing, whether they are 5, 15, 50 or 70.  It is an awesome activity for your physical and mental wellbeing and we need to share surfing’s story as wide as possible” Bowry said.

View the full Surfing New Zealand board.

The summer season kicks off with the 2022 National Surfing Championships being held at Westport on the 11 – 15 January before numerous events being staged along the coastline of both islands.  The Surfing New Zealand Wave Warriors Learn to Surf Programme takes off again in February when school resumes.  Further education courses and the popular Surfers Rescue 24/7 courses continue in conjunction with Surf Life Saving New Zealand.

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

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Author: Dan Westerkamp