Surf to Summit wrapped up on Saturday night as four NZ ski and surf personalities achieved the near-impossible, by travelling the length of the country in five days, skiing a different summit and surfing a different break every day.
It was never going to be easy, as surf and mountain conditions would affect their chances of completing the challenge within the five day period – and New Zealand certainly experienced some extreme weather last week.
After Day One (Tuesday) in Northland and the Ruapehu region went to plan, changes had to be made to Day Two, as the Taranaki region had to be bypassed due to a heavy rain warning. Instead the team headed straight to Wellington at the end of Day One to catch the 3am ferry, and Day Two’s morning surf leg became Meatworks at Kaikoura and the afternoon’s ski was at Mt Lyford.
As this brought forward the schedule, the crew needed to quickly add a brand new surf spot and mountain on Day Three (Hickory Bay on Banks Peninsula, and Mt Olympus – which was opened especially for them) to ensure the mission wasn’t jeopardized.
The weather continued to wreak havoc on the itinerary and Day Four consisted of a surf at Saint Clair on Dunedin’s south coast, and a ski at Wanaka’s Snowpark in the afternoon. A late arrival at Snowpark saw skiing occur under lights while snow fell. A small fine weather window allowed the heli-ski up Mt Aspiring to go ahead on Day Five. That afternoon delivered the most extreme conditions of the trip. SW gales, snow to sea level and a hail storm accompanied the final surf at Colac Bay just out of Invercargill.
The team reached the lighthouse at Bluff about 7.30pm Saturday night to the delight and relief of all involved. It was then time for some reflection and celebration over dinner and a cold Speight's Summit as the snow fell outside - a fitting end to the tour as surf met snow at the conclusion of an amazing journey and a successful Surf to Summit.
"We were up against it with the weather and I had to make critical decisions en route that meant a number of changes to the plans,” says Angus Kebbell, the tour leader. “We made the best of the conditions thrown at us and eventually completed the world first mission. We definitely earned our Speight's Summit on arrival in Bluff! We have big plans for the next Surf to Summit mission, so watch this space."
About Surf to Summit:
Sponsored by Speight’s Summit, Surf to Summit was a grueling journey and an attempt at a world first - going the length of a country surfing and skiing every day – a feat that had never been done in any country in the world.
The mission took five action-packed days as they drove, choppered, ferried, flew, surfed, snowboarded, and skied the length of the country from Cape Reinga on Day One (September 14) to Bluff on Day Five (September 18).
Making the road trip in the campervan was be a team of ten: four athletes, a producer/director, two cameramen, a safetyman, and two helpers, while local legends in surf and ski met them along the way to help them complete the record.
The participating athletes included pro skier Tom Dunbar, pro snowboarder Maria Kuzma, skier and surfer Angus Kebbell, and ski personality and manufacturer Alex Herbert.
Note to Editors:
Speight's Summit lager, a refreshing golden lager brewed with only natural ingredients, is inspired by the view from a summit - where you see nature at its best, there’s nothing artificial, and you experience clarity and exhilaration. It’s about supporting New Zealanders getting back to nature, and making great achievements outdoors.