Stella Smith has been crowned champion at the SUP (Stand Up Paddle) Surf Nationals in Taranaki for a third consecutive year.
The national champ says fitness is key to success in the surf.
“[I] do a lot of flat water paddling on my race boards and surf lifesaving training. So trying to get my whole body, every muscle, fit enough so I can stand up for that whole 20-25 minutes,” says Smith.
There are two more competitions in the national circuit and those determine the selection for worlds.
Smith says she's focused on taking it out this year.
“My dad always says try and surf like a guy. He always told me you know if you surf like Geoff [Pardoe] or you surf like Sean [Hovell] you'll blow everyone out of the water so that's obviously a main focus of mine”.
“I do heaps of stuff with surf lifesaving and short boarding so it definitely helps with my overall fitness, so just try and stick to all that throughout the whole year and just try and improve my surfing.”
Sean Hovell has taken out 2nd place in the men's division and says it's not just about time on the water.
“I do a lot of fitness, keeping fit in the gym, I mean the surfing comes kind of naturally riding waves so a lot of gym work.”
Geoff Pardoe placed 3rd at the nationals and says that at 42 years old fitness becomes more and more crucial each year.
He says, “because I ride a real low volume board it's a lot harder to paddle around on so I need to be really fit too, [it] helps with the mental game if you're not huffing and puffing when you get out there aye so you can just have your mind on the surfing.”
“You know how it is when you get a bit older, gets a little bit harder to maintain your fitness, but as long you keep active and fit and eat the right foods, hopefully, everything falls into place and you can still compete with those younger people.”
The next competition takes place in February.