Braden Currie, New Zealand’s new “King of Adventure”, has confirmed he will race at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Callala Beach, Jervis Bay, next month.
The 28-year-old recently captured his third straight win at the de-facto adventure racing world championship – the Speight’s Coast to Coast – which features six stages and 150-miles worth of running, biking, and kayaking from the west to east coast of the South Island in his homeland.
The father of two is also making quite a name for himself in the world of XTERRA and will race back-to-back on the weekends of April 11 in Rotorua and April 18 in beautiful Jervis Bay, approximately two hours south of Sydney.
The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
Currie proved that going long on the Coast to Coast isn’t the only thing he's good at in his first full season racing XTERRA last year.
In 2014 the Wanaka athlete won two majors (at XTERRA Motatapu for the third time and at XTERRA Sweden), was the runner-up at three races (XTERRA Switzerland, France, and Italy), was third at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Australia and the XTERRA Germany Championship which doubled as ITU's Cross Tri Worlds, and placed fourth at XTERRA Czech.
All of which came a year after his eye-opening 5th-place finish at the 2013 XTERRA World Championship.
This year, he’s looking to improve on all of those results and take the XTERRA World by storm.
“I want to be the World champion in off-road,” said Currie. “I like the technical and adventure aspect of off-road and I like the atmosphere at XTERRA. It’s a bit more rugged and the racing style is more aggressive than triathlon.”
As for the difference, Currie says, between adventure racing and XTERRA … time.
“XTERRA normally pushes me to my anaerobic threshold for 3-4 hours, while an adventure race normally does that for 11-12 hours. Either way I am smashed at the end, but I enjoy the shorter, sharper, and more technical aspect of XTERRA.”
What’s really interesting about Currie is that he only really just started swimming and biking a few years ago.
“Running has always been my natural strength. I’ve never had technical coaching in any of three of these disciplines but I have learnt a lot from riding and training with the good guys,” said Currie, who includes Kiwi legend Richard Ussher in that category. “I got into swimming two years ago now and that has gone really well for me and has turned out to be a strength.
“Mountain biking is again, something I only really started doing in the last few years. I have made big improvements but there is still many to be made but now, it’s my favorite discipline.”
Here’s some more insight into the endurance sports star from Wanaka from our recent QnA:
XTERRA: When did your love for adventure sports begin?
Braden Currie: My brother inspired me to do my first Speights Coast to Coast. This is New Zealand’s most iconic endurance event and goes from one side of the South Island to the other. Neither my brother nor I were particularly talented endurance athletes and had no experience, but my brother completed the event and came 24th. That inspired me to want to do better than him and so it all began. That was in 2007.
XT: How did you first learn about XTERRA?
BC: Richard Ussher is someone who has played a big role in inspiring and supporting me to pursue professional sport as a career. Richard came 8th at XTERRA World’s in 2011. I hadn’t heard of XTERRA before then but once I realized there was a world platform for off-road racing, I was pretty determined to get amongst it, and beat Richard of course. I came 17th in my first go at XTERRA Worlds and then 5th the year after. This year I am aiming higher than that, so we will see how it goes.
XT: What was your favorite XTERRA race last year?
BC: XTERRA France was my favorite course: the bike was long and hard and technical, and the run was grunty and tech as well. I came pretty close to staying with Ruben Ruzafa the whole race and finished in 2nd and felt like I had a really good race.
XT: Why have you decided to focus more on XTERRA these last few years?
BC: I want to be the World champion in off-road. I like the technical and adventure aspect of off-road and I like the atmosphere at XTERRA. It’s a bit more rugged and the racing style is more aggressive than triathlon. I have enjoyed improving my technical skills on the bike and will continue to push to improve those skills this year in the USA. I plan to do three championship XTERRA races in the USA, followed by the USA champs and then the Worlds. I’ll be putting it all out there this year and my family will come with me to the USA to support me to do this. We are really excited.
XT: What are your goals this year?
BC: Win Asia-Pacific XTERRA champs; win XTERRA Worlds, win USA XTERRA Champs, win Asia-Pacific 70.3 Champs, and I’m also doing an ITU World cup event in March this year to see how I go.
XT: Speaking of the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship, what did you think about it last year?
BC: It’s a beautiful area, I would have loved more hills and a more technical bike and run, but the swim was beautiful and the competition was great. My wife actually grew up in the Callala Beach area so I had visited before. We have always really enjoyed spending time there. It’s a lot quieter than many beach towns in Australia and the national parks in Jervis Bay are spectacular. You can quite often feel like you are the only people on the beach and the beaches are in my opinion some of the most beautiful in Australia.
XT: What should people know about you?
BC: In the words of Chris McCormack, aka Macca, "I’m here to win"
About the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship (April 18 – Callala Beach, Jervis Bay, NSW)
As the most prestigious event in the Asia-Pacific series that includes championship races in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, Guam, Tahiti, and Saipan – the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship will offer $50,000 in prize money to the sport’s top professional athletes and produce a television show for international distribution.
The main event combines a 1.5-kilometer ocean swim at Callala Beach, approximately two and a half hours south on Sydney, with 30-kilometers of mountain biking followed by 10-kilometers of trail running. The event lures amateur and professional athletes from around the world to New South Wales, and locals flock to the event in pursuit of XTERRA Australia Championship honours. The off-road sports festival weekend also includes a sprint distance off-road triathlon, trail runs, and relay team competitions attracting more than 500 competitors of all ages.
For more information and links to registration for the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship visit www.xterraasiapacific.com.
The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. Presenting sponsors include John Paul Mitchell Systems, the world’s largest privately owned professional salon hair care company, Outrigger Resorts - one of the largest and fastest growing privately-held leisure lodging, retail and hospitality companies in the Asia-Pacific and Oceania regions, and XTERRA Wetsuits & Boards Australia - the official swim sponsor.