NZ Surfing’s Great Underdog Story – Daniel Kereopa
“Daniel Kereopa sees himself as an underdog. And depending on your vantage, he’s right,” writes Zach Weisberg for The Inertia.
Kereopa has deep Maori heritage in New Zealand. His hometown Raglan is the perfect place to be for “a man who enjoys the ocean.” “Kereopa says he can count on one hand the days that it’s been flat there during his lifetime.”
According to the article this is “why some might have a hard time seeing him as an underdog when it comes to ocean acumen.”
Even though surf culture thrives in Raglan, there’s not the same financial backing that surfing receives in places like Southern California, Sydney, or the Gold Coast.
Kereopa for instance grew up in a double garage with no running water or power in a family of sheep shearers and wore wool shearer shirts to keep warm in the ocean.
He worked hard to become the de facto face of New Zealand surfing. In 2015 he was crowned the first ever Ultimate Waterman after competing in the “grueling marathon of events ranging from distance stand-up paddling to long boarding to shortboarding,” as reported in the article.
This year Kereopa placed third overall. During the SUP race pain overcame him early on. It was only after 16 kilometres that he collapsed to his knees. “There was no way he could quit, he said.
“He trudged on, one paddle at a time. Something about learning to surf using candle wax and a rubber bike tube. Kereopa appreciates the will of the underdog. He is the underdog.”
Article Source: The Inertia, Zach Weisberg, May 11, 2016
Image Source: Youtube