New Zealand's King Of The Harbour Countdown

Tuesday, 19 March 2013 13:34 | Written by 
Rate this item
(2 votes)
Ben Fouhey and Mike Walker smash it out to the delight of the spectators and support crew on the Fullers Ferry in the 2011 Waiheke to Auckland King Of The Harbour. Ben Fouhey and Mike Walker smash it out to the delight of the spectators and support crew on the Fullers Ferry in the 2011 Waiheke to Auckland King Of The Harbour. Credits:

The 12th King of the Harbour Ocean Ski Race will be based from Auckland’s waterfront in the heart of Auckland, 6 April 2013. Race Director Terry Newsome has promised a $8000 (NZD) prize-bucket, and free-of-charge glass FENN ocean-ski's for all international and South Island paddlers, attracting a contingent of overseas/international paddlers. If last weekend's conditions are anything to go by, this could be another exceptional downwind event - Cyclone Sandra's tailings left a 5m swell sneaking through the Colville Channel and a 40knot following NE tailwind. Will we see 2012 Jeremy Cotter's 1:25:42 record fall?

Overseas Contingent

With three of the Tahitian team staying at my place on Waiheke Island (including Sebastian Mosole, Race Director for the highly successful Mara'amu World Cup Surfski race in beautiful Bora-Bora), there's no secret to which course we are favouring! It's also no secret that someone is seeking retribution, for being forced (almost!) to eat the legendary fermented raw fish Tahitian delicacy 'fafaru' directly following an epic Pacific island crossing at last years race. I am not sure New Zealand has an equivalent, but I expect that some exposure to volcanic region of Rotorua's sulfurous/noxious fumes might be a good start.

The Tahitian connection is strong: most international flights to Tahiti fly via Auckland. Terry talks of future races aligning with the Mara'amu. There are bound to be a few good stories from this race - book your part in this now by entering this iconc event at the below link.

Course Options

One of Auckland's iconic Fullers ferries will be used to transport competitors and their skis to the start or from the finish for the King of the Harbour, as we have done in the past. 

"Not only does travelling by water add to the excitement and atmosphere of the race, it will also add a unique dimension to this race when compared to any other ocean ski events around the world as spectators will be able to see how the race unfolds aboard the Fullers Starflyte." declares Terry.

As wind direction is fundamental to a successful race, one of four courses will be selected to present the competitors with at least 80% down-wind paddling. The final course will be determined by the wind direction 24 hours prior to the race. Last years event saw a wicked little NE swell making for a blistering downwind run from Waiheke Island to Auckland's viaduct.

2012 winner Jeremy Cotter completed the 22km from Waiheke to Auckland in 1:25.42.

One of the following four courses will be selected to offer paddlers at least 80% downwind paddling:

King of the Harbour 2013

(Above) Gulf Harbour to Auckland or Auckland to Gulf Harbour (Distance 25km), favoured if a Westerly or Easterly prevailson race day.

King of the Harbour 2013 

(Above) Waiheke Island to Auckland or Auckland to Waiheke Island (Distance 19km) if winds are NE on the day, as seen in 2011 and 2012, or SW.

The prevailing SW provides a consistent wind chop from Auckland back to the island, and indeed my record time paddling this stretch of water is set at dusk on a pumping Sou' Westerly. However, there is nothing like the ocean swell that the NE brings into the Motiuhe Channel, and as paddlers depart from Matiatia ferry terminal on Waiheke, the rushing tide and ocean swell can make the first 13km's of this stretch world class in terms of downwind paddling.

 King of the Harbour 2013

Race Day Schedule


Scrutineering and late registrations and loading of boats


Fullers Ferry will leave for Waiheke or Gulf Harbour for the start


SUP race start, all course options: Auckland, Waiheke or Gulf Harbour                                       


Ocean ski start, all course options: Auckland, Waiheke or Gulf Harbour


First paddlers expected from this time


Race officially over. Ferry will leave Waiheke or Gulf Harbour for Auckland


Ferry docks at Auckland and unloads boats and passengers


Prize giving

Latest Forum Topics