Six paddle boards were donated to Tauranga Girls’ College in an effort to inspire more young people to participate in water sports.
The Waterbourne Charitable Trust, which runs the Warerbourne Beach Festival, is working with the college to set up a scheme for students which provides free coaching and equipment to try out different water sports.
The trust also aims to improve water security in Tauranga.
As well as coaching, Waterbourne has also donated six paddle boards to the college, giving students the opportunity to try out the sports and represent the college in New Zealand.
“Our goal is to get more young people onto the water safely. We look forward to bringing more programs like this to life, giving students the opportunity to try out a range of sports both as part of the Waterbourne Beach Festival but also as part of their own programme,” said event founder Laurence Carey.
“Thanks to the support of Sport Bay of Plenty, six paddle boards have been donated to the school, allowing students to learn and practice on the boards.
“These boards are part of a wider program that Waterbourne promotes alongside New Zealand Stand Up Paddle Boarding, where there is unique equipment to limit barriers to entry.”
After delaying the school program on several occasions due to Covid-19, pupils will be able to take part next summer during Waterbourne, which is due to take place in March.
“We are really grateful to Waterbourne for supplying the Sports Department with these paddle boards. They will provide our students with great extra-curricular opportunities that we are so grateful for and that many would not otherwise be able to experience,” said Kaye Barnett, Head of Sports at Tauranga Girls’ College.
“We hope that with these boards we can also help more students to participate in Stand Up Paddle Boarding competitions.”
These boards are suitable for youngsters to learn the basics of stand up paddleboard racing, where they can then upgrade to more advanced equipment once they want to push their limits and race in open categories.
Laurence says the Waterbourne Festival this summer will bring something very unique to the region, with international athletes taking part.
“We have some very exciting news ahead, where we expect to see the top 100 athletes from around the world compete for the first time in New Zealand as part of the Waterbourne Beach Festival.
“Bringing events of international significance to Waterbourne is part of our strategy to showcase the elite side of the sports involved, alongside mass participation…and we look forward to announcing which World Cup event we have to come in 2023.”
Waterbourne attracted over 10,000 spectators to this year’s 2022 event on Mount Main Beach.
Organizers plan to attract over 20,000 people every weekend in 2023 without Covid restrictions.
“Waterbourne has a large following outside of the Tauranga region where over 80% of athletes come from outside the region, mainly from Aukland,” says Laurance.
“Although we were unable to hold the concerts this year, over 60% of the tickets sold for our 5,000-person concert came from outside the Bay of Plenty, which is a huge benefit for the GDP of the region.”