by Mike Rose
An exciting new challenge for PWC owners, which will see them travel from Tauranga to the Bay of Islands over 6 days, is aiming to raise between $60,000 and $70,000 for the Melanoma Foundation of New Zealand.
The idea, which is modelled on similar events in Australia, is the brainchild of PWC world record holder and dedicated melanoma campaigner, Jeremy Burfoot.
The 600-kilometre Yamaha Melanoma Foundation Ski-NZ 2013 will see competitors cover 100km each day, along some of the most picturesque coastline in the country.
Starting with registration, a briefing and a welcome barbecue in Tauranga on Sunday, March 3, the Yamaha Melanoma Foundation Ski-NZ 2013 will consist of six, 100-kilometre legs, finishing at Russell in the Bay of Islands.
'On Monday we leave Tauranga and head to Whitianga, with stops at Slipper Island and Pauanui,' explains Burfoot. 'The next day, we head first to Great Mercury Island and then around Cape Colville to Coromandel Town.
'On Wednesday, we visit Waiheke Island and Auckland before stopping at Takapuna for ‘auction night’. Thursday sees us off to Kawau and Omaha, before enjoying at half day at some of Matakana’s finest wineries.
'Friday’s voyage is from Omaha to Marsden Cove for ‘seafood night’ and our final leg is to Russell, via the famous Hole in the Rock off Cape Brett. The event finishes with ‘Last Night Madness’, a big celebration for everyone involved, in Russell.'
Burfoot describes the event as a unique combination of 'fun and FUNdraising'.
'While it will certainly be a great adventure, there is a serious side, too.'
Burfoot explains that entrants are each required to raise a minimum of $1500 in tax deductible sponsorship.
'We are encouraging participants to compete with each other to see who can raise the most sponsorship,' he says. All of the money raised through these sponsorships will go direct to the Melanoma Foundation of New Zealand.
Participants will also have to pay a $55 application fee and a $450 provisions’ fee.
'The provisions fee will cover the welcome dinner in Tauranga, lunch and dinner each day and the Saturday night final function in Russell,' explains Burfoot. 'Entrants also get a complimentary event t-shirt, hat and DVD and an experienced team, including medical support, mechanics, PWC experts and on-water recovery crew will accompany the fleet each day.'
Participants must take part on a well-maintained, sit-down PWC not older than 2005. In keeping with the event’s 'awareness of melanoma' and safety messages, participants will also be required to wear a lifejacket, full face helmet, eye protection, gloves, shoes and a full length rash suit or wet suit for protection from the sun. Organisers are also encouraging those entering to carry a personal locator beacon.
The PWCs will be trailered on shore each night so participants will also require some type of 'shore crew' to follow the event by road.
Although entering the Yamaha Melanoma Foundation Ski-NZ 2013 clearly requires a substantial commitment, Burfoot is confident at least 45 riders will take part next March.
'We already have 15 entrants committed, three of whom are coming over from Australia especially for the event. We have also had expressions of interest from four UK riders and from an number of other Australians.'
Burfoot, a melanoma survivor who set two world records on his Yamaha VXR1800 Wave Runner (for the fastest 1000km on a PWC and for the longest distance travelled on a PWC in six hours) will be taking part, as will Yamaha’s Brendan Grant.
'I strongly encourage as many PWC owners and enthusiasts as possible to join us,' he says.
'If you are an adrenalin junkie or just love cruising around some of New Zealand’s most iconic spots ,with a like-minded group of adventurers, then the Yamaha Melanoma Foundation Ski-NZ 2013 has to be the ‘must-do’ event of 2013.'