Chris Latham is the Event Promotor for the Auckland Strongman Series which is out to see who are the strongest males and females across Aotearoa. Westie Pies Auckland Strongman Series Round 3 goes down this Saturday in Auckland, so get the info then get along to it!
Where did the idea behind the Auckland Strongman Series come from?
The Auckland Strongman Series was born out of a need to have a recognized 'circuit' for strongman events held in Auckland, similar to those held overseas. The goal of the series is to ensure that a number of high profile, professionally run contests are held each year with competitors placing’s being used to decide the overall Auckland Strongman Series Champion.
How does the competition work?
There are three events in the Auckland Strongman Series spread out across the year, as well as a couple of stand-alone events separate and distinct to the Series (where no series points are collected.) Typically, the winner of each event receives twelve series points, second place gets eleven and so forth. The highest scoring athlete at the end of the series is named Auckland Strongman Series Champion. At each event up to twelve of the country’s best strongman competitors come together and compete across four disciplines.
Who are the top-dawgs of the competition?
So far across the first two events (Round 1 back in April and Round 2 end of August) we have had the same athletes secure the top-3 podium finishes. Obviously our current and 2x New Zealand’s Strongest Man Mathew Ragg is always expected to finish in the top-3 and has done so with back-to-back first placed finishes. A relative newcomer to the sport of strongman Stanley Cocker has come out of the woodwork and surprised a lot of people with two 2nd-placde finishes. Afaese Paea – a veteran of the local strongman circuit in New Zealand rounds out our top-3 on the leaderboard after two strong showings earlier this year.
Who has you excited as future prospects in Strongman?
The potential across the competition is really exciting to see – we’ve got young guys like Paxton Brown putting up crazy numbers in just his first year of competing. Then you’ve got Stanley Cocker who I mentioned earlier who is achieving above and beyond expectations and Zhan Matene who was close to securing a podium finish at Round 2 before injury hampered his deadlift.
How is the women's division shaping up and does it excite you to include a women's division?
The women’s section is still a work in progress – we had the first female class introduced during Round 2 which was a great success and got a lot of positive responses on the day and on social media leading into the event. It’s always exciting to see the ladies competing alongside the men and I hope that this builds with each subsequent event.
How do the competitors train for the events as they appear to be difficult events to replicate by yourself?
The competitors do a lot of there static compound lifts (squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press) during the week and train at Crossfit East Auckland in Mt Wellington on a Saturday where we go over the various implementation training for the upcoming competitions.
What's your favourite event to watch?
The beauty of strongman is that no two events will ever be the same which allows for promoters to throw anything into the mix that they deem a worthy strength test that will excited the crowd. For me personally, I love watching people deadlift any number of different ways (we had a car deadlift earlier in the year thanks to Suzuki New Zealand).
What is your vision for the Auckland Strongman Series?
My vision is for it to keep on growing with each event, continue to secure some great sponsors to support the athletes and allow us to keep putting on exciting contests for the fans. Ideally within the next 12-18 months I’d like to get our events televised and grow the fan base that way. I see big room to grow the sport of strongman in New Zealand and where we are at now is only the beginning.
If someone who plays sport casually or goes to the gym to stay in shape saw the event and wanted to get involved, what advice would you give to them?
Send me a private message via Facebook or DM on Instagram and I’m more than happy to give you some direction and get you down for a training session. No prior experience necessary and strongman is suited to all strength levels.
You're all over social media, how do fans stay up to date with Auckland Strongman?
We are on Facebook and Instagram – give the page a like and keep engaging with the content.
Thanks again to our amazing sponsors Westie Pies, Jack Link’s NZ, Yuasa Batteries NZ, Raiselower and Physio Logic for getting on board and supporting our events.