Global icon Kelly Slater will be using a New Zealand surfing event to springboard into the 2020 season.
The Corona Piha Pro WSL Challenger Series event will host 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater, who has confirmed that he will launch his 2020 season in New Zealand this March.
The American is widely regarded as the greatest professional surfer of all-time, with comfortably the most title victories (11) and event wins (55), as well as holding the record for both the youngest and oldest World Champion in the men’s ranks.
Kelly is one of the few superstars that truly transcends their sport. He is a renowned campaigner for environmental causes, has collaborated with world-famous musicians, appeared in movies, had his own video game, written two autobiographies, and developed the pioneering Surf Ranch Wave Pool - a man-made facility which allows people to surf away from coastlines and at their own convenience, and which is transforming the sport.
It will be the first time Kelly has competed in New Zealand since 1993, but the Floridian surfing icon sees the peaky beach breaks of Piha as the perfect place to get his 2020 competitive season underway.
“I’m excited to be surfing again in an event in New Zealand and seeing all my fans there,” says Kelly. “I love the country and all it has to offer… incredible surf, golf and so much more. I’m also looking forward to starting my 2020 WSL season by competing at a Challenger Series event.”
The Corona Piha Pro is one stop on the newly-announced WSL Challenger Series and will see more than 100 hungry surfers aiming to qualify for the elite Championship Tour – CT - in 2021, while also displaying the talents of a number of CT riders, such as Kelly Slater.
Corona Piha Pro Event Director Chris Simpson says it’s a real coup for the Corona Piha Pro.
“To have the greatest of all time in our first year goes to show how well-regarded Piha is as a surf destination,” says Chris. “It gives us a real stamp of credibility and is going to create hype around the sporting community in New Zealand.”
New Zealand Minister of Economic Development Phil Twyford agrees.
“Having an athlete of Kelly Slater’s mana at the event will inspire a new generation of Kiwi athletes to take on the world’s best,” says Phil. “It is exciting that we can support events like the Piha Pro through the Major Events Fund to help encourage more young New Zealanders to compete and excel on the world stage.”
“Kelly Slater is a global icon and a great ambassador for surfing,” says Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) General Manager – Destination Steve Armitage, “so we’re thrilled that he’s decided to compete in Tāmaki Makaurau.
“Kelly’s appearance on our shores is a major coup that will raise the profile of the event and increase the appeal of Piha as a global surfing destination. We look forward to his arrival in Auckland and extending our manaakitanga (a warm welcome) to him during his time here.”
The 2020 Corona Piha Pro WSL Challenger Series event will run from March 16 -22, 2020.
Fans are encouraged to visit iTicket.co.nz for further information on how to get to the event. Visit WorldSurfLeague.com or download the free WSL App for more information on the Corona Piha Pro and the new WSL Challenger Series.
How to watch the Corona Piha Pro:
Due to the limited amount of parking space within Piha, and the challenging access via Piha Road, fans will only be able to enter Piha during the period of the Corona Piha Pro (March 16-22) with a Parking Permit for the relevant date – these can be purchased online at iTicket.co.nz.
Piha residents will be given Resident Vehicle Access Passes and Guest Passes to help ensure smooth and constant access for them throughout the seven days.
There will be a managed access point on Piha Road (near the Karekare turn-off). Once through this point, vehicles will be directed to their specific parking area. Managing access to Piha will help reduce the chances of congestion and ensure people can get into Piha more efficiently. Any vehicles without the required access will not be permitted entry.
It is recommended that people carpool as much as possible – Parking Permits will be charged per vehicle, not per person. Access to the beach is free of charge.
Parking space in Piha is limited – once parking allocations in Piha have been sold out, overflow Parkand-Ride options will be activated from Glen Eden.
Alternatively, the Corona Piha Pro will be shown live on Sky Sport and the Sky Sport Now app in New Zealand.