New Zealand’s top-ranked ocean surf-skier Katie Pocock is looking to make it ten from ten when she competes in Auckland’s annual Contegro King of the Harbour.
Named the World’s top female Ocean Paddler in 2007 and 2009, Katie is seeking her tenth title in an event that’s also celebrating its ten-year anniversary.
The Contegro King of the Harbour, also the NZ Surf Ski Championship, is held over two days, and commences on April 1, with the main event – a testing 25-27km course out from Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, being held on April 2. Katie is targeting this ocean paddling event in Auckland before setting her sights on winning her next international competition.
“The Contegro King of the Harbour will be my first international ocean ski race of the season. My big goal for this year is to win in Auckland, and then win the World Cup event in San Francisco in August,” says Katie.
Katie has been the first female athlete home in the nine previous Contegro King of the Harbour events. Yet, for Katie the emphasis is simply on competing and doing her best against all competitors. “I’ll be really focused on beating as many people in the field as I can, it doesn’t really matter what gender they are.”
The 31 year old, who has also represented New Zealand in Sprint Kayaking and Surf Lifesaving, has competed the world over, but has a strong connection to the Auckland competition. She sites 2005 as her favourite race. “There was a really strong women’s field. We had the defending world champion and a top South African paddler, and I won that year. It was a really exciting time for me.”
This year’s event has a significant international contingent including top paddlers from Tahiti and internationally ranked competitor Malcolm Hall, while Olympian Mike Walker, is also back to defend his 2010 title.
One of four possible courses will be selected 24 hours prior to the race to ensure at least 80% downwind paddling. A chartered Fullers Group ferry will transport competitors and their skis to the start of the course, and spectators will also be able to get on board to follow the action.
Katie explains that the tidal flow through the Hauraki Gulf makes this race quite different from others around the world. “The type of wave is smaller so the racing is less about skill and more about all-out physiology.” For more on Contegro King of the Harbour visit www.kingoftheharbour.co.nz