Hawaii's Zane Kekoa-Schweitzer has taken out this year's Ultimate Waterman title for the second year in a row. Over two weeks, eight of the world's top water athletes competed in eight gruesome water disciplines along the rough Southland coast for the title.
Champion, Zane Kekoa- Schweitzer says, “Holding this pouwhenua makes me feel very grateful for the position I'm in and for the path I'm leading myself down.”
Over nine days, athletes were tested in big wave surfing, waka ama, long and short boarding, SUP boarding, SUP endurance, prone paddling and underwater strength running and swimming.
Kekoa-Schweitzer says, “You know this event truly is a challenge of physical mental and spiritual performance. You know it's not just physical demanding endurance event day after day. The whole event from start to finish, from the travel to when you leave home, is a race.”
Kekoa-Schweitzer won the title after finishing fourth in the final discipline, winning with an overall score of 7,250 points.
Connor Baxter (USA) says,” Zane is an incredible guy, if there's any waterman to win this event, he's the most deserving on and off the water. He really does show the true meaning of a waterman. He really embraces it and he's a proud ambassador of it.'
Competition proved tough for NZ's star surfer and 2015 Ultimate Waterman, Daniel Kereopa, who placed sixth overall.
Kekoa-Schweitzer says, “Just to be involved and learn from each one of these guys is a huge huge amazing accomplishment.”
Kekoa-Schweitzer is looking forward to returning to NZ next year for a third run at the title.