The 2012 Hyundai Tour will kick some life into summer starting early January, with five events taking place at iconic surf spots around New Zealand. World - renowned surf destination, Raglan, is included in the mix for the first time in the tours' six-year history.
The 2012 Hyundai Tour will also travel to Piha, Sandy Bay and Mount Maunganui before the season concludes at Port Waikato in early March.
Raglan will be the location on everyone's minds, as it is not only the first event of the season, but is also the only point break on tour.
Raglan local surfing legend and seasoned Hyundai Tour campaigner Michael Thomson was in high spirits when told the tour was visiting his home break.
"Manu Bay is a great venue. It has been eight years since a major longboard event was held here but everyone always wants to come to Raglan" Thomson said.
"The guys that come from beach breaks won't believe their luck with the waves at Manu Bay; they go for ever and never close out. I think it will be those guys that will be the most rapt about competing here."
Thomson will look to win back his Over 50 Men's Division title, which he lost to Viv Treacy (Ocean Beach) in 2011. And with his local knowledge of the left hand point break, he will get the best possible start to the summer season.
The Hyundai Tour's most anticipated and fun filled stop at Sandy Bay will be staged over four days on Waitangi weekend, and will remain part of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Australasia Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS), with a one-star rating.
The international sanctioning ensures the best longboard proponents in this corner of the world will return to New Zealand to compete for valuable rating points towards their qualification for the ASP World Longboard Tour.
Hyundai New Zealand has been the main supporter and title sponsor of the National Champs for the seventh straight year as part of their long standing partnership with surfing in New Zealand. The announcement of the 2012 tour follows Hyundai's confirmation of their commitment to the sport of surfing and Surfing New Zealand for a further year.
In preparation for the Hyundai Tour events season, Hyundai has been working with Surfing New Zealand to create a series of family friendly events aimed at getting locals and visitors along and joining in.
"The Hyundai Tour events are a great family day out at the beach, whether you love surfing, are keen to give surfing a try, or just want to enjoy the sunshine while watching some world class surfing action," says Hyundai New Zealand's Chief Operating Officer Tom Ruddenklau.
"This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the National Surfing Championships, which will be celebrated at the Piha event in January, so we hope Aucklanders will join us while we mark this significant milestone in the history of New Zealand surfing."
Surfing New Zealand CEO Greg Townsend says he is thrilled with how the 2012 tour is evolving.
"A lot of work has gone into the tour this year, and we are very pleased to have Hyundai back supporting the surfers more than ever in 2012," he said.
"The Hyundai Tour continues to grow and I have no doubt we will witness some spectacular surfing, great family times and a lot of fun when the events commence in January."
The tour will hunt out the best surfing family in New Zealand throughout 2012 with all family entries into events going into the draw to win New Zealand's most popular diesel family wagon, the Santa Fe, for a year at the end of the season. This further promotes the fantastic family atmosphere that surfing and the Hyundai Tour is renowned for, while retaining that friendly rivalry in the key divisions when mates hit the water.
The 2012 Open Men's Division Tour winner will also receive an all expenses paid trip to Australia and entry into the Noosa Surf Festival - one of the three other ASP LQS events held in the region. The prize was claimed by Australian Josh Constable in 2011 so the Kiwi surfers will be keen to wrestle back the number one spot and accolades in 2012.
Overall the Hyundai Tour will boast $20,000 in prize money with both the Sandy Bay and Port Waikato events having a six-star rating for the domestic tour.
Seven divisions will be contested on the tour - Open Men, Women, Junior Men (Under 18), Over 40, Over 50 and Stand Up Paddleboarding and the SUP Race.