After a gruelling nine days, Hawaiian Zane Kekoa Schweitzer has been crowned the Ultimate Waterman for 2016.
The 22-year-old showed the most consistency across the multi-discipline event and received a commander's trophy for a commanding performance.
Zane Kekoa Schweitzer says, “'So proud to be bringing this home to Maui, to my Ohana oh yeah so stoked you guys!”
Zane placed third in the final discipline on Auckland's Waterfront, but it was enough to clinch the title over runner-up Danny Ching from America.
He takes the title from last year's winner Daniel Kereopa who placed third overall.
Kekoa Schweitzer says, “I just want to say a big congrats to every one of these guys and especially to Daniel Kereopa for passing on the Championship title to me and all of his aloha, sharing his family and his culture with us and it's been really special.”
Despite battling an ear infection and a slipped disc before the comp, it wasn't enough to stop Daniel from winning a discipline in the short board event.
However, the strain of the competition crippled him in the final race.
Daniel’s mother, Rangi Monihu Kereopa says, “before the competition, he was suffering from hip pain. The doctor said it was slipped disc. But he lives for surfing, that's his passion. Daniel will be okay. When he comes home to Raglan, he'll be back to himself again.”
In the end, 38-year-old Daniel had the last word congratulating Zane.
Kereopa told the new champ, “'I had a dream that I was going to win three events, but I think I was dreaming about him. Well done Zane.”