- WSL / Cory Scott

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Friday, January 17, 2020) - The World Surf League is excited to announce that Sky Sport New Zealand will be a major sponsor and broadcast partner for the upcoming Corona Piha Pro WSL Challenger Series event this March.

The partnership is part of a new three-year deal that will also see Sky Sport hold exclusive television broadcast rights in New Zealand for WSL's major global live events along with other WSL owned content. Sky Sport will also be the naming rights sponsor of the Piha Pro New Zealand Trials event which will give four local surfers the opportunity to compete in the major Challenger Series event this March.

Tex Teixeira, Sky's Chief Content Officer, says, "Surfing is a growth sport and as a key sponsor for the Corona Piha Pro and with broadcast rights for a huge range of international events and other content, we're supporting surfing at all levels and making this exciting sport more accessible to more fans.

"We know the last time New Zealand hosted a surfing event of the scale of the Corona Piha Pro, there was a huge surge in the number of people taking up surfing. Ensuring every New Zealand fan can be inspired by seeing local and global stars compete on the waves here and around the world, is an exciting proposition for Sky Sport."

Andrew Stark, General Manager WSL Asia Pacific says, "We are excited to partner with Sky Sport to showcase the WSL year-round to New Zealand fans. In addition to our live WSL Championship Tour broadcast of every tour stop on Sky Sport, we look forward to introducing Kiwi fans to other WSL Studios lifestyle content. Our partnership also includes the Corona Piha Pro where Sky will be a major support partner of the event including securing name rights to the Sky Sport Piha Pro New Zealand Trials, the trials event for the Corona Piha Pro."

The Sky Sport Piha Pro New Zealand Trials for the Corona Piha Pro will see 32 of New Zealand's most promising surfing talents battle for a spot in the World Surf League Challenger Series event. Sixteen surfers will be selected for each a men's and women's trials event with the top two from each trial awarded a wildcard spot into the main event.

"New Zealand is a country with an emerging talent pool of competitive surfer's and this trials event will give four of the most promising talents a huge opportunity to compete on the world stage," continued Stark. "WSL sees opportunities like this as a way to give back to the local surfing communities who share their waves with us. Engaging with surfers not only in the Piha and Auckland area but also from all over New Zealand is really important to the WSL."

The WSL has worked closely with Surfing New Zealand to ensure that the most relevant surfers from around the country will find themselves a spot in the trials event. Each individual spot will be awarded to a surfer who has received a specific accolade in the previous 12 months. Surfing New Zealand President Chris Fougere looks forward to seeing the Kiwi contingent take it to the world's best.

"The Sky Sport Piha Pro New Zealand Trials is a huge opportunity for our aspiring young surfers to join New Zealand's best in the main event," Fougere said. "We worked with WSL to create a trials formula comprised a mix of our future stars, top New Zealand based talent and local surfers from the Auckland Region with multiple chances for surfers from around the country to qualify."

The Sky Sport Piha Pro New Zealand Trials will run on March 15, in the lead up to the Corona Piha Pro Challenger Series event which will run from March 16 through March 22, 2020. Please visit WorldSurfLeague.com or download the free WSL App for more information on these events and the newly announced WSL Challenger Series.

The Piha Pro is proudly supported by our partners at Corona, Sky Sport, Jeep, New Zealand Major Events, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).

Sky Sport Piha Pro New Zealand Trials Selection Men's and Women's 3x WSL QS surfer (previous year's rankings) 2x WSL Pro Junior Surfers (previous year's rankings) 3x NZ Surf Series (previous year's rankings) 2x National Championships (current year) 1x NZ Grom Series Under 18 (previous year's rankings) 1x SISA Series (previous year's rankings) 1x Aotearoa Maori Titles (previous year) 1x Piha surfer from NZ Surf Series (previous year's rankings) 1x Surfer from Auckland Championships (previous year) 1x WSL Wildcard (Selected by Surfing NZ and WSL)

Top two men and top two women will secure a spot in the main event

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