Construction of New Zealand’s only surf sports sand track starts this week in an area across from Midway Beach in Gisborne.
The new sand track is on the corner of Centennial Marine Drive and Stanley Rd. It replaces the old one on Centennial Marine Drive, built around 2005, which was removed to make way for Kiwa Pools -- scheduled to open in March 2023.
Surf Life Saving NZ Tairāwhiti Club Development Officer Sonia Keepa contributed to the track’s design. She says maintaining the legacy of the country’s only sand track was important for the region.
“It’s the only one of its kind in the country and we wanted to ensure this iconic sports resource continued to be available for everyone.”
The sand track, which looks like an oversized sand pit, is used by Surf Life Saving NZ for sprint and other sand-based events. Beach volleyball and netball teams use it for training and games, and there’s even been the odd pirate treasure beach dig fundraiser held there.
Ms Keepa says surf lifesaving athletes look forward to training on the new track from the start of their season in November. The track will be first used in competition during the Gisborne Senior Surf Life Saving Championships to be held in January 2022.
Council Kiwa Pools project manager Corin Heath says construction of the new sand track was always factored in.
“We included it early in the construction phase to ensure Gisborne had the track for summer training.”
The new sand track will run alongside the beach-end of Stanley Rd across the road from the Lions Junior Cycle Park. It will be 120m long and 14.4m wide allowing for eight running tracks. Recycled sand, free of organic material from the original sand track, will be used for the 400ml sand bed.
Gisborne construction company Siteworx will construct the sand track. Initial ground preparation requires the removal of two Pohutukawa trees from the area. Mr Heath says Council will carry out replacement planting next year.
Local company ProTraffic will manage traffic around the area during the expected three weeks of construction.