The New Ultimate Waterman – Hawaiian Zane Schweitzer
22 year old Zane Schweitzer has been crowned the 2016 Ultimate Waterman.
Schweitzer, a late call up for 2016, was the most consistent surfer of the multi discipline event winning three of the seven disciplines contested.
Discipline 7 : Stand Up Paddleboard Race
Today Schweitzer placed third in the 16km Stand Up Paddleboard Race which was enough to clinch the title over runner up Danny Ching (USA).
“I have been training for this event all of my life without knowing about The Ultimate Waterman,” Schweitzer said.
“Last year I was so bummed watching the event and not being part of it, it hurt. And this year I got a late call up a couple of weeks before it started and now I hope I have proven that I deserved the call up.”
“I know there are a lot of other athletes out there that suit this event and I look forward to the event growing and learning off these guys when they become part of it. This event truly broadens a surfer’s horizons beyond what they are used to, it makes them step outside of their comfort zone and try new things. That’s what I love about it,” said Schweitzer.
Fellow Hawaiian athlete Connor Baxter won the SUP Endurance Race today well clear of Danny Ching (USA). Baxter moved up in to fourth place as a result of the win, one place behind New Zealand’s defending champion Daniel Kereopa in third.
Schweitzer claimed the Prone Paddleboard discipline on the first weekend of the event before heading south and winning the Standup Paadleboard Surf on Wednesday and then the longboard discipline on Saturday. Schweitzer also placed fourth in the OC1, third in the Shortboard and seventh in the Underwater Strength Run and Swim.
Official Results – 16km SUP Endurance
1st Connor Baxter (HAW) – 1:15:16
2nd Danny Ching (USA) – 1:19:26
3rd Zane Schweitzer (HAW) – 1:21:06
4th Manoa Drollet (PYF) – 1:26:46
5th Daniel Kereopa (NZL) – 1:30:18
6th Mark Visser (AUS) – 1:31:52
7th Caio Vaz (BRA) – 1:31:52
DNS Kala Alexander (HAW)
1st Zane Schweitzer (HAW)
2nd Danny Ching (USA)
3rd Daniel Kereopa (NZL)
4th Connor Baxter (HAW)
5th Mark Visser (AUS)
6th Caio Vaz (BRA)
7th Manoa Drollet (TAH)
8th Kala Alexander (HAW)
Discipline 6 : Long boarding
The longboard discipline was held at Piha Beach, Auckland today in clean waves of less than 1.0m.
The win has catapulted Schweitzer well out in to the overall lead with a near 800 points over his closest rival Daniel Kereopa.
Schweitzer’s win came at the expense of Kereopa as the two surfers were separated by only 0.10 points – Schweitzer scoring 14.43 to Kereopa’s 14.33.
“I remember this event going on last year and I was hurting watching it because I wanted to be a part of it, this is what I have trained for all of my life,” Schweitzer said after today’s discipline.
“My mindset today was to surf to the criteria, speed, power, flow plus style and grace. It is hard when the surf is that small but I had a few fun rides and I got to play with the waves.” he added.
“I feel grateful to move up the rankings. I have been sitting in fourth place the entire event so to get to the top of the leaderboard is the best feeling.”
Kereopa and Schweitzer both nominated the longboard discipline as their double whammy so the runner up finish for Kereopa elevated him to second on the overall standings, but the gap between the two surfers has extended.
Brazilian Caio Vaz looked polished in his performance finishing in third place with American Danny Ching placing fourth in a surprise result that will help his overall placing.
Ching is expected to be a frontrunner for the final discipline, the 16km Standup Paddleboard Endurance along with double whammy surfer Connor Baxter (HAW).
This evening the new discipline of Underwater Strength Run and Swim takes place at the National Aquatic Centre. The athletes will be going into unknown territory and the individual results will be crucial for those chasing Schweitzer as the frontrunner.
Schweitzer first claimed the Prone Paddleboard discipline last weekend before heading south and winning the Standup Paadleboard on Wednesday.
Forecasts for the finals day tomorrow are for 25 knot winds from the easterly quarter. The strong onshore winds will require the athletes to be transported out to Motuihe Island for a straight downwind 16 km race.
Official Results – Longboard Surfing
1st Zane Schweitzer (HAW)
2nd Daniel Kereopa (NZL)
3rd Caio Vaz (BRA)
4th Danny Ching (USA)
5th Mark Visser (AUS)
5th Connor Baxter (HAW)
7th Manoa Drollet (PYF)
7th Kala Alexander (HAW)
Discipline 5 : Short boarding
Discipline 4 : Underwater Strength Run
American Danny Ching called on his high school sprint swimming experience to help him win tonight’s Underwater Strength Run and Swim discipline of The Ultimate Waterman at the National Aquatic Centre, Auckland.
The win puts him in second place overall behind Zane Schweitzer of Hawaii and means tomorrow’s final Stand Up Paddle Endurance race could be won by either competitor.
The Underwater Strength Run and Swim is new for 2016 and involves competitors dropping into the pool and holding their breath for 30 seconds before running along the bottom holding a 25kg dumb bell in each hand. Competitors were required to then drop the weights on a mat, come to the surface and sprint swim 25m back to the start. Each athlete had two attempts and their best time was taken.
Ching completed the drill in his fastest time of 1.08.83. Second was Manoa Drollet (TAH) in 1.10.45 and third Mark Visser (AUS) in 1.11.43.
Ching said he realised yesterday at a group training session that the sprint swim element was going to be the deciding factor.
“I noticed that we were all on par with each other in regards to running with weights, it was slippery on the bottom and it was going to be hard to get an edge. I felt confident after that because I was a high school swimmer for ten years specialising in sprint swims so I knew I could win,” said Ching after the race.
“I just needed to calm down, get my heart rate around 40 beats per minute and I was fine. I had a goal time of 1.10 and so I’m stoked to have done 1.08.83,” said Ching.
The athletes now look ahead to the final race tomorrow starting at midday. Forecasts are for 25 knot winds from the easterly quarter. The strong onshore winds will require the athletes to be transported out to Motuihe Island for a straight downwind 16 km race.
Official Results – Underwater Strength Run and Swim
1st – Danny Ching (USA)
2nd Manoa Drollet (PYF)
3rd Mark Visser (AUS)
4th Caio Vaz (BRA)
5th Daniel Kereopa (NZL)
6th Connor Baxter (HAW)
7th Zane Schweitzer (HAW)
DNS – Kala Alexander (HAW)
Discipline 3 : SUP surfing
Californian Danny Ching retains his lead in the overall points race over Australian Mark Visser but both Schweitzer and today’s runner up Caio Vaz (BRA) have closed the gap. The next discipline will mark the half-way point of the event and the points table is guaranteed to evolve.
The Ultimate Waterman competition continues this week with another discipline set to be contested on Thursday with a good chance that will be shortboard surfing.
Schweitzer posted a 15.2 point heat total for the win. His last wave scored a heat-high 7.60 points out of a possible 10 awarded for three big forehand turns. That wave was enough to turn the heat and push double whammy surfer Vaz in to second.
“We had an epic helicopter ride to the location this morning, we were literally on top of the world at one point and now I am really on top of the world after winning,” Schweitzer said after the competition.
“We had some good competition in the final. I was nervous, I was sitting in second and had to compose myself then I relaxed and got that wave,” he added in reference to the 7.60 point ride.
“I have committed a lot of time to standup paddle in the last few years. But more than anything I am a surfer who plays in the ocean, I am not just a paddler, I am an ocean enthusiast, that’s why I love this event so much and that’s why these wins mean so much to me.”
“I am stoked to rack up points and keep going. I want to win the longboard and make top two in shortboard and then top three in the SUP Race which should put me in a good place to challenge for the overall win.”
Placing second today was World Champion Caio Vaz who had the win taken from his grasp in the last three minutes of the final. It will be a blow for the youngest competitor in the event with the Brazilian missing the win in his chosen double whammy discipline.
New Zealand surfer Daniel Kereopa won the Standup Paddleboard in 2015 but had to settle for third today unable to find the quality waves that Schweitzer and Vaz picked off.
Kereopa sits in sixth place overall with the Longboard discipline shaping up to be a make or break discipline for him as his double whammy.
Placing fourth in the final was Connor Baxter (HAW) who replicated his result from 2015.
Forecasts continue to show promising signs for swell on both coasts of the South Island of New Zealand. Athletes hope to take advantage of the swells before heading north on Friday morning.
Official Results – Standup Paddleboard Surfing
1st – Zane Schweitzer (HAW)
2nd Caio Vaz (BRA)
3rd Daniel Kereopa (NZL)
4th Connor Baxter (HAW)
5th Manoa Drollet (PYF)
5th Kala Alexander (HAW)
7th Danny Ching (USA)
7th Mark Visser (AUS)
Discipline 2 : Prone Paddleboarding race
Hawaiian athlete Zane Schweitzer paddled his way to a significant win in the Prone Paddleboard race held at Piha Beach, Auckland, New Zealand 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.
“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.
1st – Zane Schweitzer 41:58
2nd Mark Visser 44:34
3rd Danny Ching 45:02
4th Caio Vaz 45:59
6th Manoa Drollet 46:07
7th Connor Baxter 52:25
8th Kala Alexander 57:14Overall Results (after 2/8 disciplines)
1st Danny Ching (USA)*, 2730
2nd Mark Visser (AUS)*, 2450
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
Discipline 1 : Outrigger Canoe
Californian paddler Danny Ching (USA) has claimed the first discipline of the Ultimate Waterman 2016 event in empathic fashion beating his opponents by a whopping eight minutes in the 16km Outrigger Canoe Race held at Takapuna Beach today.
Ching finished the race in a time of 1:26:12.
The Outrigger Canoe is Ching’s double whammy discipline which means he secures double points for his win.
Ching won the discipline at the inaugural Ultimate Waterman event in 2015.
Placing second today was Connor Baxter (HAW) who held off a spirited battle from Australian athlete Mark Visser. Visser showed a phenomenal improvement from the 2015 event where he placed second to last in the discipline.
The closest battle of the day was between defending event champion Daniel Kereopa (NZL) and Hawaiian athlete Zane Schweitzer. Kereopa appeared to pass Schweitzer 50m from the finish line but as he hit the beach, cramp set in and he had to resort to hopping across the finish line as he watched Schweitzer sprint past and in to fourth place.
Placing fifth through eighth were Manoa Drollet (PYF), Caio Vaz (BRA) and Kala Alexander (HAW).
The competition continues tomorrow at Piha Beach, Auckland with the 6km prone paddleboard race. The race starts at 12pm and competitors will complete four laps of a 1.5km course that runs through the powerful waves of Piha.
About the Ultimate Waterman
The search to find the world’s best all-round waterman takes place between March 12-20 in Auckland and throughout New Zealand. Eight of the world’s finest waterman will compete in eight disciplines: short and longboard; stand-up paddle and endurance; waka-ama; big wave paddle in surfing; underwater strength run and swim; prone paddle board.
Athletes for 2016 are Connor Baxter (HAW), Mark Visser (AUS), Kala Alexander (HAW), Danny Ching (USA), Manoa Drollet (PYF), 2015 winner Daniel Kereopa (NZL), Caio Vaz (BRA) and Zane Schweitzer (HAW).
Words : Ultimate Waterman
The eight watermen are welcomed to the 2016 event by Auckland Iwi Ngati Whatua. The athletes are aboard the Waka Taua before they board the Waka Hounui where the two new athletes are presented with their greenstone. : Ultimate Waterman
Clips from my iPhone6S before the start of competition for, “TheUltimateWaterman”! 3/12 will be Day 1 of competition, starting with Waka Ama/OC-1! Stay tuned on #TheUltimateWaterman for more updates and higher quality production! Haha All shot with iPhone6S and edited on iMovie app. : Zane Schweitzer
Waka Ama/OC-1 Saturday 3/12/16 and Prone Paddleboard Surf Race 3/13/16 with #TheUltimateWaterman in #NewZealand. Super stoked to start this major competition with some good momentum racking up points from my 4th place finish in OC-1 and my 1st place finish in the Prone Paddleboard Surf Race/Paddleboard Surf Life Rescue! Mahalo Dolphin water crafts for the amazing Prome Paddleboard and mahalo Kai Wa’a Hawaiian canoes for my Pink Standup For The Cure edition OC-1/Waka Ama! Mahalo Pulama Collier and the Pacifica Festival for all the mana and good times at the Hawai’i Halau workshop and at the Pacifica Festival! : Zane Schweitzer