Flip through Channel Magazine online
Want to know more about where to get a copy of Channel? Click here.
15 Year old Takapuna lad and Rosmini College student Ollie Houghton has been chosen in the New Zealand Stand Up Paddling (SUP) team to compete in Mexico during June. Ollie comes from a SUP and surfing mad family and first took up the sport at 12 years of age. His mum Rosie and dad Gavin are also leading competitors in the sport. Channel Mag's Aidan Bennett put these questions to Ollie during April, shortly after he had received the news of his inclusion in the team.
AIDAN BENNETT: It must be a thrill to be picked in the New Zealand SUP team?
OLLIE HOUGHTON: Yeah I`m super excited and really looking forward to it, I`m really proud to represent my country in a sport I love, although pretty nervous as well.
AB: What other sports are you involved in?
OH: Surfing and Rugby with my school, Rosmini College.
AB: How many people in the New Zealand SUP team?
OH: Four of us in the SUP distance and technical racing and three in the SUP surfing competition. There are also four of the best New Zealand prone paddlers going as well. My mum Rosie is the SUP team manager so she will be helping, keeping us hydrated, fed, organised and sun-blocked.
AB: Where will you be competing and in what division?
OH: Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico. It`s close to Puerto Vallarta.
I`m competing in the technical race and am a reserve for the distance race.
The ISA (International Surfing Association) Worlds event have invited many countries to participate. It should be amazing, we have New Zealand team uniforms and are taking the national flag with us for the opening ceremony which is on the May 10th and the racing goes through until May 17th.
We are going to get medals but it will be really tough, I`m just stoked to have an experience like this. ISA are a recognised body by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
AB: What do you think makes you so good at SUP?
OH: I think my technique is pretty good and my paddle stroke. I`m really determined as well. I do try to stay focussed on what I`m doing in my races, try not to take notice of the others and push myself as hard as I can. If I fall off or make a mistake I don’t give up, I just push myself harder. My parents tell me I`m too hard on myself sometimes. When I know there`s an event coming up I train for it and I`m lucky as I have such great paddlers around me who want to help me improve. I always feel encouraged by them. SUP is a great sporting community.
AB: Who inspires you to be the best?
OH: There are some really amazing paddlers in the World and we have some great ones here in New Zealand, but I would have to say Connor Baxter from Hawaii would be who I aspire to the most as he`s number one in the world at the moment and he`s a cool guy. I met him when the top paddlers were in New Zealand in February this year and I got to train and hang out with them which was awesome.
AB: You have competed offshore before, tell us about those events?
OH: I’ve competed in the big SUP racing calendar event in the world 'The Battle of the Paddle'. This was in 2013 when I was 13. I was placed third in under 18, 5 mile event and third in the technical under 18 race. In 2014 we went back when I was 14 and I came first in the under 18 distance race, second in the 5 mile, under 18 and second overall in the 12.6 feet mens board division. This was held at Dana Point in California. We are hoping to be able to go back again this year, but this time I want to race with the Elite men of the world. I have to save up!
AB: Why do you love SUP?
OH: It’s a fairly new and growing sport and I like the variety of racing you can do.
AB: What do you want to do when you leave school?
OH: At this stage I have no idea, hopefully get a degree and job that can afford me to do the things I want to do – actually my mum and dad told me to say that!
Channel Magazine: Issuu 54 May 2015