SL Racing Ambassador programme

Ben is rowing on an SL racing single scull racing boat, facing the camera, holding onto his oars on a lake with a blurred background behind hin.

Next across the line.

We’re huge supporters of rowing rising stars and want to give a leg-up to those who are committed to being the best of the best.

Our Ambassador programme hand-picks rowings up-and-coming champions who could benefit from some extra support to enable them to achieve their full potential. Ben Mason was the first recipient of this programme, and we’ve watched him compete in New Zealand and abroad, becoming one of NZ’s rowing talents to watch. We can’t wait to see what he will achieve in the coming years and are thrilled to have him on board.

How SLR support our Ambassadors:

  • Support and mentorship from some of rowing’s elite
  • Use of an SL Racing boat
  • Financial support
  • A load of gear.

Find out a bit more about Ben, what drives him and what winning the SL Racing Scholarship means in our ‘Quick five-minute Q&A’.

Ben sits on a single scull SL Racing rowing boat. The lake is clear and there is a mountain range behind him. He is wearing a black t-shirt and holding oars.

Name / Age / Location:

Benjamin Mason / 20 / Cambridge

How long have you been rowing?

Six years

What are your goals for rowing – now and in the future?

My short-term goals will be to perform well at the u23 Worlds this year and medal at next year’s u23 Worlds. I also want to defend as many titles as I can at next year’s Nationals when the competition gets tougher and become a future prospect for the NZ elite team. Long-term, I want to compete and medal in the Olympics.

What do you hope to achieve with the support of SL Racing?

SL Racings support helps me widen my support team and gain knowledge very few people in the world can offer. It allows me to take the next step toward becoming a more professional athlete. Not only will I be set up in a boat perfect for me, but I’ll also have the confidence in my equipment that nothing is holding me back.

What do you think is your greatest rowing achievement to date?

I think my greatest achievement to date is a difficult one to answer. I’ve been fortunate enough to race at a World Champs before COVID hit, which was a massive achievement. But more recently, I had the most successful Nationals of my life, winning five events, including three premiere events. However, my most challenging accomplishment and my personal favourite would have been my 1000km coastal row to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. Which could be why some people saw me racing in a pink row suit in previous seasons.

What drove you to apply for the SL Racing Ambassador Programme?

I think I applied because it was a great opportunity for me to best my chances for the future with where I currently am with my rowing. I’ve been very proud of what I have achieved so far, but now I think I’m at the level where it’s hard to start separating yourself from the best, and their support will help give me the edge to do that.

Keep an eye out for updates on Ben.

Rowing the road to success – meet Oscar Ruston, our newest SLR Ambassador

Oscar Ruston joins fellow up-and-comer Ben Mason and NZ Rowing legend Emma Twigg as an SLR Ambassador. We’ve worked with Oscar for the past 12 months and are excited to see him take his rowing to the world-stage this year as he competes in the U23 World Rowing Championship in Canada, 2024. Find out a bit more about his past year and what the future holds for this talented rower.

How long have you been rowing for?

I have been rowing for 7-8 years and have rowed for Gisborne Rowing Club, Hawke’s Bay Rowing Club and now Waikato Rowing Club.

How did the Ambassador role with SLR come about?

I originally received some support in 2022 through the Ambassador Programme, including access to an SLR single, which resulted in a very successful rowing season for me. After meeting with Simon and Hamish to see how we could amplify our partnership, they offered me an SLR Ambassador role, which I am incredibly excited about! 

How has your 2024 rowing season been so far? Share some of your successes.

The 2024 rowing season has been incredible and definitely my most successful season to date. I managed to achieve three National titles at NZ Club Champs in the U22 single, double and the prem quad, where I was also awarded my red coat. I was then selected in the U23 rowing team as the men’s single scull which means heading to Canada to compete at the U23 World Rowing Championships this year. 

What do you hope the SLR Ambassador role will help you to achieve?

I hope this role will help me to establish a greater connection to other people in the rowing community, and hopefully, I can become a role model to younger athletes who love the sport of rowing. 

What does the future hold? Where would you like to see your rowing take you?

My end goal in my rowing career is to win an Olympic gold medal, and it would be extra special to do it in an SLR.

SLR look forward to seeing Oscar’s career progress and supporting him on his journey to be first across the line at the Olympics. We’ll keep you updated on Oscar’s results in Canada and beyond.