Operation Ricardo

FUNDING BOOST: Ricardo Christie on his way to victory in the open men’s final of the New Zealand surfing championships in Gisborne. Christie will return to the Qualifying Series tour this year boosted by more than $35,000 raised to help him with travel and competition costs. Picture by Paul Rickard

GISBORNE-Mahia surfer Ricardo Christie’s bid to return to surfing’s elite tour has been given a much-welcome financial boost.

Former All White footballer and surfing fan Noah Hickey has helped raised over $35,000 through crowdfunding to go towards Christie’s travel and competition costs on the World Surf League’s 2018 Qualifying Series.

Christie, who recently won his second open title at the New Zealand surfing nationals in Gisborne, will give the tour known as “The Grind” another shot as he seeks to return to the elite Championship Tour.

The 29-year-old made the CT in 2015 but was unable to retain his spot and has been battling it out on the QS for the past two years.

“In the past I've had to wing it,” he told Newshub. “Sleeping on the floor, sharing a car with 10 people.”

Hickey’s campaign, run through management company WeAreTENZING, will ease the huge financial burden many professional surfers such as Christie face in pursuit of their CT dream.

Hickey’s respect for sportspeople such as Christie and his desire to see Kiwis achieving on the world stage are among reasons he organised the campaign through the WeAreTENZING management company.

“I feel Ricardo is the hottest prospect in New Zealand sport right now,” said Hickey, an All White international from 1997 to 2007, who also played for Gisborne City during his career. “He has it all; he ticks all the boxes.”

“Randomly one night I was speaking with Brooke Howard-Smith (WeAreTENZING chief executive), who has helped bring all this together, and he asked me what I wanted to achieve this year.

“I said ‘I want to get Ricardo Christie back on tour’, and it just carried on from there.

“We just wanted to free Ricardo up from fundraising and couch surfing to do what he does best — surf, make the tour and inspire our next generation of Kiwi surfers.”

On learning what Hickey had done for him, the popular Christie said he was honoured.

“Too often in the past I have passed up crucial opportunities that I would have benefited greatly from because my budget simply wouldn’t allow for it," he said.

“In this crucial time, at the peak of my ability and career, having the support to truly focus 100 percent on being the best athlete I can be, while remaining in my home country, means the absolute world to me.

“I have no doubt it will play an integral part in my success and I am honoured to have this opportunity.”

The first major QS event is the 6000-point Burton Automotive Pro in Newcastle from February 19 to 25. Christie made it to round 3 of the 2017 contest.

He won the Martinique Surf Pro and finished the year ranked 31st on the QS, from which the top 10 qualify for the CT.

GISBORNE-Mahia surfer Ricardo Christie’s bid to return to surfing’s elite tour has been given a much-welcome financial boost.

Former All White footballer and surfing fan Noah Hickey has helped raised over $35,000 through crowdfunding to go towards Christie’s travel and competition costs on the World Surf League’s 2018 Qualifying Series.

Christie, who recently won his second open title at the New Zealand surfing nationals in Gisborne, will give the tour known as “The Grind” another shot as he seeks to return to the elite Championship Tour.

The 29-year-old made the CT in 2015 but was unable to retain his spot and has been battling it out on the QS for the past two years.

“In the past I've had to wing it,” he told Newshub. “Sleeping on the floor, sharing a car with 10 people.”

Hickey’s campaign, run through management company WeAreTENZING, will ease the huge financial burden many professional surfers such as Christie face in pursuit of their CT dream.

Hickey’s respect for sportspeople such as Christie and his desire to see Kiwis achieving on the world stage are among reasons he organised the campaign through the WeAreTENZING management company.

“I feel Ricardo is the hottest prospect in New Zealand sport right now,” said Hickey, an All White international from 1997 to 2007, who also played for Gisborne City during his career. “He has it all; he ticks all the boxes.”

“Randomly one night I was speaking with Brooke Howard-Smith (WeAreTENZING chief executive), who has helped bring all this together, and he asked me what I wanted to achieve this year.

“I said ‘I want to get Ricardo Christie back on tour’, and it just carried on from there.

“We just wanted to free Ricardo up from fundraising and couch surfing to do what he does best — surf, make the tour and inspire our next generation of Kiwi surfers.”

On learning what Hickey had done for him, the popular Christie said he was honoured.

“Too often in the past I have passed up crucial opportunities that I would have benefited greatly from because my budget simply wouldn’t allow for it," he said.

“In this crucial time, at the peak of my ability and career, having the support to truly focus 100 percent on being the best athlete I can be, while remaining in my home country, means the absolute world to me.

“I have no doubt it will play an integral part in my success and I am honoured to have this opportunity.”

The first major QS event is the 6000-point Burton Automotive Pro in Newcastle from February 19 to 25. Christie made it to round 3 of the 2017 contest.

He won the Martinique Surf Pro and finished the year ranked 31st on the QS, from which the top 10 qualify for the CT.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you think the road over Titirangi/Kaiti Hill should be one-way to make it safer for pedestrians?​