The third edition of the Darcy Price Ocean Surfski Series set for the summer of 2021-22 welcomes a brand new event to the schedule, which will now comprise a total of seven races.
The premier New Zealand surfski series has proved hugely popular and while all the existing races remain, the addition of a new race in Wellington – the Windy City Downwind – will be keenly anticipated.
In the other significant change to the schedule, the Paddler Virtual Champs is moved from its March slot to run throughout the month of January – a period of calmer conditions and when people are likely to have more free time.
In a move to keep the series vibrant and fresh, the Queen and King of the Bay in Nelson on 26/27 February will double as the New Zealand Ocean Racing Championships for 2022.
There will also be a consistency of format with the age divisions across all seven events. A paddler’s best four races will count towards the series results, with a prize-giving at the final event.
Darcy Price Series co-ordinator Danika Mowlem said: “We are really enthusiastic about improving and growing this series and paddling in general around New Zealand and we have engaged in good discussions with paddlers and race organisers about how best to do this.
“This is our third season since formalising the DP series, and so far we average about 200 individual paddlers competing in one or more races each summer. We feel this is only just scratching the surface in terms of paddlers in New Zealand. If we can get more paddlers from other disciplines into surfskis and at different events around the country, this is good for everyone – it will help improve and vary the skills of paddlers, it will improve the quality of racing and paddling and it will help race organisers continue to run sustainable events.
“We are continuing to try improve the professionalism of the series, though consistency of age groups across events, as well as making it clear what is required for those that are looking to be selected for ICF Surfski worlds. We know age group racing can be the most competitive, especially in the Masters for surfski, so making sure we have consistency across races makes things more exciting for paddlers who are racing for bragging rights.”
Following the Covid disrupted restrictions of a couple of events last season, Danika, who herself triumphed as the overall Darcy Price Series winner in the open women’s division in the 2019-20 series, added: “With more races and more variety in the upcoming season, we are sure it will be the best yet. Along with the usual races, I can’t wait to get back to the Poor Knights race after Covid restricted Aucklanders from travelling to that event last year.
“The 2019 Poor Knights is probably my favourite ever paddle and I’m keen to return. I’m also really looking forward to a new race in Wellington. We know Wellington’s reputation as a windy city, and they are producing some really quality downwind paddlers. I’ve never paddled there so can’t wait to see what they can put on for us.”
The events included in the 2021/22 Darcy Price NZ Ocean Surfski series are as follows:
Poor Knights Crossing, Tutukaka- Saturday 11th September 2021
Windy City Downwind, Te Whanganui a Tara | Wellington- Saturday 30th October 2021
Auckland King & Queen of the Harbour, Tamaki Makaurau | Auckland- Saturday 13th November 2021
Paddler Virtual Champs– 1st- 31st January 2022
James Moore-morial “Bhutty Moore” Race, Tauranga | Mt Maunganui – Saturday 5th February 2022
Queen and King of the Bay*, Whakatu | Nelson – 26/27 February 2022
Heads to Harbour, Whakatane – Saturday 26th March 2022
*doubles as 2022 NZ Ocean Racing National Championships