Paige Hareb

Top 10 upcoming sports events

02 July 2018 - Blog by The Gull Team

1 Vans US Open of Surfing

LOCATION: Huntington Beach, California

DATES: 30 July to 5 August

Every year, huge crowds flock to the sunny shores of Huntington Beach, aka Surf City USA, for one of the largest action sports festivals in the world.

The Vans US Open of Surfing is the premiere surf event in the USA, with 3 surfing competitions: stop #7 of the Women's World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour, the Men’s World Qualifying Series 10,000 event, and a combined WSL Pro Junior event.

In addition to all the action in the ocean, the festival has skate and BMX competitions in its custom pro park, live music, outdoor movies, art exhibitions, and creative workshops.

Gull athlete Paige Hareb recently broke her ribs surfing in Mexico, so we can only hope she recovers in time to fly the NZ flag in the women's event at Huntington Pier.

 2 Hempel Sailing World Championships

LOCATION: Aarhus, Denmark

DATES: 30 July to 12 August

Aarhus, Denmark's second-largest city, will be buzzing with excitement as sailors from over 100 countries gather to compete in the world championships.

Medals in all 10 Olympic sailing classes are up for grabs, with results counting towards qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Games. For the first time ever, the regatta will also showcase men's and women's kiteboarding competitions.

Kiwi sailors will line up in many of the classes and with such a deep talent pool, New Zealand should expect a solid medal haul.

While the boats battle it out on the water, Aarhus will host a huge festival in the harbour, with entertainment and activities for young and old.

 3 Mahindra Goldrush Rally of Coromandel

LOCATION: Whitianga, New Zealand

DATE: 18 August

Round 5 of the 2018 NZ Rally Championship takes place on the picturesque Coromandel Peninsula.

From rally HQ in Whitianga, drivers will race their cars around 135 kilometres of forestry and public roads in the Mercury Bay region.

Over 60 teams are expected to participate in the Goldrush, including NZ's best rally drivers. Gull athlete Ben Hunt is a previous winner on the Coromandel. Ben finished 3rd in last year's event and will be keen to get back on the podium in 2018.

Get up close to the action out on the gravel roads or check out the cars as they come in for servicing at the Mercury Bay Multi-Sport Park.

 4 ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships

LOCATION: Montemor o Velho, Portugal

DATES: 23 to 26 August

The Canoe Sprint World Championships are the pinnacle of the sporting calendar for the world's best kayakers and canoeists.

The medieval Portuguese town of Montemor o Velho in Coimbra hosts this year's event, which features canoe, kayak, and paracanoe disciplines for women and men.

The world championships typically attract over a thousand athletes from around the globe and the New Zealand team will be exceptionally strong, with multiple world and Olympic champions in its ranks.

Young Gull athlete and rising star Ashton Reiser will compete in his first full world championships after winning 3 gold medals, a silver, and a bronze at the national champs earlier this year.

(Note: I couldn't find details of the events Ashton will be competing in).

 5 Audi quattro Winter Games NZ

LOCATION: Southern Lakes region, NZ

DATES: 25 August to 10 September

Stars of the Winter Olympic and X Games will descend on Queenstown and Wanaka for the sixth edition of the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ.

The winter games are one of the world's top 5 winter competitions and New Zealand’s largest recurring sports event.

On the snow, athletes will compete in snowboarding, freestyle skiing, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and more, with this year's event hosting the FIS Junior Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships and World Cup Big Air competitions.

Aside from all the aerial and downhill action, the games is a snow festival famed for its unique Kiwi atmosphere that athletes, coaches, and spectators all rave about.

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 6 IFSC Climbing World Championships

LOCATION: Innsbruck, Austria

DATES: 6 to 16 September

If people hurtling and flying down mountains isn't your thing, perhaps the strength and dexterity of climbing up might be.

The 2018 climbing world champs are being held in Innsbruck, in the heart of the Alps, a city renowned as winter sports centre and host of multiple Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

For the uninitiated, there are 5 sport climbing disciplines: Speed – 2-person races to the top of a 15m wall, Lead – climbing as high as possible on a 15-20m wall within 6 minutes, Bouldering – climbing as many fixed routes on a 4m wall as possible within 4 minutes (without ropes), the Olympic Combined format, where athletes compete in all the disciplines within a day, and paraclimbing.

While New Zealand won't have any representatives in this world championships, the sport's inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will give the rising number of young Kiwi climbers all the initiative they need to go higher, faster.

 7 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final

LOCATION: Gold Coast, Australia

DATES: 12 to 16 September

The final event on the ITU World Triathlon calendar takes place on the Gold Coast for the first time and over 5,000 of the best elite and age-group triathletes will be competing on the Queensland coast.

The Grand Final will celebrate the diversity of triathlon, with athletes representing 46 nations competing in Elite, Elite Paratriathlon, Under 23, and Junior categories.

New Zealand will field a strong team, with Sam Ward currently ranked 16th in the world, Andrea Hewitt 20th, and Rebecca Spence 25th.

The Kiwis should feel right at home in the waters and streets of Southport and will aim to finish the year on a high.

 8 2018 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup

LOCATION: Santiago del Estero, Argentina

DATES: 29 & 30 September

As the spring sun heats up the northern Argentinan Pampa, the world BMX racing community gathers in the historic city of Santiago del Estero for the ultimate event of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup.

Over the 2 days, there are 2 rounds of the World Cup series, which are the UCI's (Union Cycliste Internationale) banner BMX competitions along with the world championships – held earlier this year.

The Santiago del Estero event is the largest international BMX competition in South America, so the track will be challenging, the racing fast, and adoring fans from all over the continent will create a real carnival atmosphere.

 9 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship Round 13

LOCATION: Doha, Qatar

DATES: 25 to 27 October

The World Superbike stop in Qatar is the last of the season and the world title could well be on the line at the Losail International Circuit.

All the action takes place at night, under massive floodlights, when the air of the the Qatari desert starts to cool.

Last year, triple world champion Jonathan Rea, from Northern Ireland, flew around 5.4km track to win both races, and the Kawasaki rider has been the man to beat again so far in 2018.

 10 ICC Womens World Twenty20 Cricket

LOCATION: West Indies

DATES: 3 to 14 November

Women's cricket steps firmly into the spotlight in November when the West Indies hosts the World Twenty20 tournament.

It's the first time the Women's World T20 is being held as a stand-alone competition without the men's being played in parallel and the hosts are the defending champions.

New Zealand gets the honour of kicking off the tournament with a game against India. The White Ferns have never won the T20 cup and will need to finish in the top 2 of Group B to make the semifinals. Three-time champions and old rivals, Australia, are also in the group along with Pakistan.

Given the West Indian love for the game and celebration, the tournament will be a thrilling, feelgood time for players and spectators alike.

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