Meet the team!
NZSUP exists entirely upon work done by volunteers. These are the people who do all the work behind the scenes to make the NZ SUP scene happen.
Steve Dunlop – President
Keen Auckland racer and long-time member of the paddleboarding scene, and father to some seriously hot up-and-coming youth talent too!
Bill Dawes – Treasurer & Safety Officer
The original founder of NZSUP. Bill has been involved with all aspects of the SUP industry, as an importer, manufacturer, designer, journalist, instructor, coach and event organiser. He manages the NZ SUP instructor training scheme, coordinates SUP safety in New Zealand, runs the Triple Crown event series, Northland Paddleboarding, NZ’s longest-running fulltime SUP school, and the weekly Paddle at the Pear tree SUP club and race in Kerikeri.
Trudy is a professional musician and music teacher, based in Auckland. Going for a paddle is balances out this lifestyle perfectly.
She first tried SUP in 2012 on a friends inflatable. She did her first race in 2013 and has been collecting upgrading carbon race boards ever since. She loves the social aspect of SUP racing, great group of people, who are super encouraging.
“Auckland is the perfect SUP destination, with loads of places to paddle in all wind directions, so we paddle all year around.”
Trudy surfed her first wave at the age of 46 – such a buzz flying down a wave – both on surf sups and race boards. For that reason she also loves down winding. A race board also makes a great sun bathing platform!
Helen discovered stand up paddling and a love of the ocean aged 40. Prior to that her career was in Human Resources, as an academic, then as a practitioner with the BBC, Marks & Spencer and Fonterra. Over those 15 or so years coaching and guiding leaders and teams became second nature. Then Helen discovered that being a SUP coach was an amazing way to enable people to balance mind and body on the water, and she’s never looked back. If Helen’s not on the water, she’s in the forest improving her mountain biking skills … always something to be learning.
Sean is a tech teacher at Kaitaia College, a long standing member of Pear Tree Paddlers, and has worked tirelessly over the last decade to bring paddleboarding to the local community, a dedication that paid off when Kaitaia College won the Northland Schools championships in 2021.
Rod is one of the committee members of the Nelson SUP Club. After moving from Christchurch to Nelson, with his wife Lyn, in 2011 and discovering the joys of year-round paddling, the kayak soon gave way to the first paddleboard. It did not take long to get involved with the local SUP group and after a few pub meetings the decision to formalise and incorporate the Nelson SUP Club. Being pretty much retired and self-employed he can be found most mornings on a 14ft board down at Tahunanui Beach looking to achieve a bit more speed.
Rod is on a mission to bring new people into the sport, ensure the SUP safety message is out there, and establish Paddlefest Nelson as an annual “Top of the South” event that brings all types of paddlecraft together for a few days of serious and social paddling out on the sheltered waters of Tasman Bay.
The Working Groups
The NZ SUP committee has various areas of specific interest, each with their own working group, comprising committee members and other co-opted members with expertise and experience in that particular field.
These working groups are as follows:
Regulatory, Lobbying and Advocacy
Oversight, documentation and audit of all aspects of current involvement that NZSUP has with official bodies such as Maritime New Zealand, Safer Boating Forum, Water Safety NZ, WorksafeNZ, SportNZ, and the various regional councils, plus oversight of NZSUP’s finances and accounting.
Group leader: Bill Dawes
Competition & Events
While NZ SUP does not organise events other than the National Championships, this group works to facilitate the widest possible range of other SUP events happening around New Zealand
Group leader: Trudy Lile
And important part of the association’s remit is running the annual National Championships, which has taken place every year since 2013.
Group leader: Steve Dunlop
Developing youth participation and engagement in paddleboard racing by getting inter school & club competition and coaching happening at regional level, and creating pathways for talented youngsters to raise their game.
Group Leader: Bill Dawes
Clubs and Organisations
Developing relations with paddling groups and clubs around Aotearoa
Leader: Trudy Lile
High Performance Programme
Creating programs to develop and support our athletes to compete at the highest levels
Leader: Helen Blair
Communications, Fundraising and Membership
Ensuring that NZ SUP is interacting with stand up paddlers wherever they are in New Zealand, and whatever and however they paddle.
Leader: Bill Dawes
World Championships 2023
Providing all necessary liaison and input from NZSUP to the event organisers and other parties to ensure the 2023 ICF World Championships hosted in NZ is a success.
Leader: Steve Dunlop