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New Race format for Summer Ski Series

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

A new race format will test the open ocean skills of Aotearoa’s paddling finest when the Darcy Price Ocean series kicks off in the pristine coastal waters in Tutukaka in 3 weeks.

The Tawhiti Rahi Coastal Challenge, formerly known as the Poor Knights Crossing, will open this season’s ocean racing series on the first weekend of September and will see competitors navigating the shoreline in one of two possible open ocean race formats.

Due to some insurmountable logistical challenges, the Poor Knights Crossing course of the last eight years has been replaced by the option of two lengthy and challenging downwind coastal runs, both are open ocean paddles that could provide some spectacular racing.

Event organiser Tim Eves is hoping the new race format will provide a more attainable event for those paddlers who found the 24km crossing event a bit too far out of their comfort zone, but still give those hard core ocean athletes the thrill they seek.

“The hope is that we can rejuvenate the crossing format in the future, it just wasn’t going to happen this year. I’ve paddled both these course options in big downwind conditions and in the right winds there’s plenty of action for the downwind addicts,” Eves said.

“In any northerly wind shift we will start the field in Oakura and head south towards Tutukaka running past Mimiwhangata, Whananaki and Matapouri with a few rocky outcrops and reefs for good measure,” he said.

“From the south we start under the embrace of Mt Manaia with a beach launch and a 24km run north past Taiharuru, Ngunguru and Rahomaumau Reef.”

Two possible race courses - final course to be determined based on the forecast for race day.

The event is open to Oceanski/surfski, waka ama and SUP paddlers, and many of the usual suspects have entered as well as a good crew coming up from Nelson Surfski club. Gene Prato will be lining up in this race for the first time, having made a real splash on the ocean ski race podiums since he arrived in New Zealand from South Africa at the start of 2023.

Gene Prato will be hoping to secure his first major NZ race victory, after finishing on the podium in last season's races.

Competitors will be bused to the start line where their craft will be waiting for them after being trailered to the pre race muster point.

As always, the event hosts plan to give visiting paddlers top notch hospitality and a very authentic local experience. A big part of the event is to acknowledge the local iwi Ngatiwai and give the competitors some knowledge of the history of the area.

“All the Tutukaka locals are keen to host paddlers, they really enjoy the spectacle,” Eves said.

Entries are open now- be in to win!

Enter before midnight on Friday 11 August to go in the draw to win a Mocke Travel Bag from Paddle Sport NZ worth $180. For full event details and online registration, check out

The Darcy Price NZ Ocean Ski Series is the national ocean racing series comprising of the premier oceanski races around Aotearoa. See full series info and race dates



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