A Taranaki longboarder will enjoy home advantage this weekend when the summer surfing tour hits New Plymouth for the first time.
The two-day penultimate event of the Hyundai tour will take place at Fitzroy Beach, showcasing the best longboard surfing in the country.
The event includes men's longboard, women's longboard, junior longboard, over-40 longboard, over-50 longboard and three standup paddleboard sections including a short and long distance race.
Ant McColl, formerly from Mt Maunganui but now living in New Plymouth, has been waiting all season for the tour to head south.
"The waves are a lot better here, the people are friendly."
He has surfed along the Taranaki coastline consistently for the past 12 months and hopes this will give him the upper hand on his opponents.
In first place after three of the five 2013 Hyundai tour events, this weekend he's hungry for an event win after two runner-up finishes.
"It would be nice to get a win under the belt."
Only 110 points separates McColl from second best performer on the tour, Daniel Procter of Gisborne.
Jamie Andrews, a competitor in both the men's longboard and the standup paddleboard divisions, was looking forward to a fun weekend.
He started standup paddleboarding only three weeks ago but backs his chances.
"I'm not as good as some of the other guys but I'm quietly confident," Mr Andrews said.
Surfing Taranaki executive officer Craig Williamson said Fitzroy Beach would be the pick of the spots and conditions were shaping up well.
"It looks like there will be a short period of swell of an average size.
"Sunday is an offshore forecast so it will be smaller but better conditions."
Mr McColl said the tricky conditions were all part of the challenge.
"It's not looking too good but there'll be waves that are contestable.
"If it's clean that's good."
Mr Williamson encouraged people to get down and have a look.
"There will be some great surfing on show."
The tour boasts $12,000 in prizemoney and another $8000 is distributed to boardrider clubs and community groups at locations the tour frequents.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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