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.
Slater 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 Slater 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. 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.
Chris Simpson, Corona Piha Pro Event Director:
“This is 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. It gives us a real stamp of credibility and is going to create hype around the sporting community in New Zealand.”
Phil Twyford, New Zealand Minister of Economic Development:
“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. 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.”
Steve Armitage, General Manager – Destination at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED):
“Kelly Slater is a global icon and a great ambassador for surfing, so we’re thrilled that he’s decided to compete in TÄmaki 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 through 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.