© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2019

Kiwi surfers are starved for funding

Natasha Payne

More than 30 surfers have been selected to represent New Zealand at the world championships in California next year, but not all of them have the necessary funds.

Ben Kennings, spokesperson for Surfing New Zealand, said that they lack funding to allow Kiwi surfers to compete in high-performance competitions, due to funding allocated to 'mainstream' sports.

He cited "pinnacle" sports such as rugby, athletics and yachting, get a lot of funding for these events while alternative sports like surfing get left with nothing.

There were "a bunch of athletes who all deserve the recognition," but it was "just not possible" to support their endeavours financially, Kennings said.

This meant talented young surfers who wished to compete were left to fund-raise for themselves.

They were required to basically "pay to play," with athletes expected to come up with an average of $6000 to cover travel expenses.

Many are starting to fund raise by having Give A Little pages along with going to their community council boards for grants and donations. 

The Coastal - Burwood community board have currently been asked to help two Cantabrian teen athletes get to California.