Champion surfer inspires

Champion Mount Maunganui surfer Matt Hewitt knows how hard it can be to excel in a chosen sport and is sharing his knowledge with children throughout the Western Bay of Plenty.

Matt inspired a group of Year 5 and 6 students this morning at the launch of the three day Future Champions coaching programme at Blake Park in Mount Maunganui where he talked about what it takes to succeed in sport.

Champion Mount Maunganui surfer Matt Hewitt with a group of Year 5-8 students at Blake Park in Mount Maunganui.

“I got into surfing quite late, when I was about 13 or 14-years-old. You talk to a lot of guys and they started surfing when they were like three.

“Until then I played a lot of sports and I think it is important to play as many sports as you can before you decide to focus on one.”

At 20-years-old, this is Matt’s first year on the World Qualifying Series and he has already moved from the 300 rankings to number 81.

“It has been a busy year. I went to China, spent about two months in Australia before doing the New Zealand circuit and soon I am off to the United States, in the next couple of weeks.”

It costs Matt $80,000 a year in travel and expenses, and he says travelling alone is one of the toughest challenges in competitive surfing.

“It can be quite hard, it’s good to have things like Skype so you can still talk to your family.

“When I do get knocked out or get a bad score, I reflect on what I have done and try to take away the positives and use it to get better. I think succeeding is about building the strength to come-back.”

Matt competing at the Australasian Pro Junior Series. Photo by Steve Robertson / ASP Australasia.

Run by Sport Bay of Plenty with help from sponsor Western Bay Energy For Education Trust, Future Champions is a three day event for Year 5 to 8 students.

Sport Bay of Plenty primary school coordinator Vicki Semple says coach force has taken a holistic approach to the programme providing children with skills coaching in 12 different sporting codes. 

“As well as the skills part, the children are also given nutritional advice, recovery sessions and parent sessions.

“Each sport is different and this is a way for children to develop skills in their chosen sport.”

Each student was required to write their own entry form outlining their objectives and goals in a chosen sport.

“It’s about developing the independence and confidence required to help each student succeed.”

Today Year 5 and 6 students from East, North and South schools will participate in a range of events at Blake Park, Baywave, Tauranga Hockey Centre and Harbourside Netball.

Tomorrow Year 5 and 6 students from Mount Maunganui, Te Puke and West schools will train, before Year 7 and 8 Intermediate students programme on Friday. A total of 700 students participate in the programme over the three days.

Matt throws the rugby ball around with Orinn Fairlie, 9, Richard Lauhingoa, 10, and Lucas Cashmore, 9, participating in the Future Champions programme.


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