Hawaiian athlete Zane Schweitzer paddled his way to a significant win in the Prone Paddleboard race held at Piha Beach, Auckland today.
The 6km Prone Paddleboard Race was the second of eight disciplines being held in the 2016 Ultimate Waterman event which runs from the 12 – 20 March in New Zealand.
The 22-year old from the island of Maui maintained his place at the front of the lead pack for the entire race before breaking away on the last leg of the final lap to take the win by 2:36 minutes in a time of 41:58.
After two events, Schweitzer has now jumped to third place on the overall rankings behind Danny Ching (USA) who won the Outrigger Canoe Race and Australian Mark Visser.
Schweitzer was charged full of energy after the race.
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“This race was way more fun than yesterday, today is a race of technique and ocean awareness, reading the ocean and choosing the right path,” Schweitzer said after the race.
“I am super stoked to come out on top, this result will play a huge role in my overall result. Plus I learnt a lot, it was a blast!” Schweitzer said.
“This race was really different for all of us because nobody specializes in this discipline. In fact seven of eight athletes had not tried our Dolphin Surf Craft boards until 30 minutes before the race. There was a lot to think about and strategy developed on-the-go,” said Schweitzer.
Today’s race runner-up was double whammy surfer Mark Visser who targeted this event to receive double points. Visser was in the leading pack for the entire race before Schweitzer pulled away for the win. Visser now sits in second place on the overall rankings.
Placing fourth today was Brazilian Caio Vaz who had another battle with New Zealand’s own Daniel Kereopa who finished in fifth.
Manoa Drollet (TAH) finished in sixth place while Hawaiian Connor Baxter placed seventh.
Baxter was looking like one of the form paddlers before a big set of waves washed through the bay, one of which ripped his board from his hands leaving him with 100m swim to shore to pick up his board and dashing any hopes of a top finish.
Kala Alexander (HAW) placed eighth in the race and was one of several athletes who are starting to feel the strain of this grueling event.
A travel day is scheduled tomorrow to find the optimal conditions. The focus turns to wave riding with the shortboard, longboard, standup paddle surf and big wave surfing disciplines scheduled to run. Forecasts are now showing a powerful storm forming under Australia. The storm has already delivered big swells to Western Australia and continues to track east under New Zealand providing several location opportunities for the surfing disciplines.
Official Results – 6km Prone Paddleboard
1st – Zane Schweitzer 41:58
2nd Mark Visser 44:34
3rd Danny Ching 45:02
4th Caio Vaz 45:59
5th Daniel Kereopa 46:01
6th Manoa Drollet 46:07
7th Connor Baxter 52:25
8th Kala Alexander 57:14
Overall Results (after 2/8 disciplines)
1st Danny Ching (USA)*, 2730
2nd Mark Visser (AUS)*, 2450
3rd Zane Schweitzer (HAW), 1670
4th Connor Baxter (HAW), 1388
5th Caio Vaz (BRA), 1198
6th Daniel Kereopa (NZL), 1166
7th Manoa Drollet (TAH), 1110
8th Kala Alexander (HAW), 950
Source: The Ultimate Waterman