Things to do  |  8 Dec 2021

Jono Horton wouldn’t mind doing manus for a job but in the meantime he'll be at the pool perfecting his moves this summer.

The winner of last year’s inaugural Manu Summer Series Competition will defend his title when an expanded competition starts at Jellie Park on 12 December.

 Six heats will be held at Christchurch City Council pools across the city ahead of the grand final in early March.

The new Te Pou Toetoe: Linwood Pool will host one of the heats as it is home to one of New Zealand’s few specialty deep water splash pools.

Jono was hooked after first seeing manus while at Intermediate School. “I thought ‘wow, that’s so cool.’ It became a fascination. Since then, every summer for the past six years me and my friends go to Jellie Park to practise.

“It’s great being out in the sun, getting your vitamin D. Anyone can do it. Watch other people and copy their form and you’ll pick up techniques. We do the staple, the coffin, the cannon ball.

Jono Horton executes a manu at Jellie Park

“Most famous is the manu – it’s the Maori word for bird. You look at the water, find your jump spot, bend your knees and throw your arm up.

“Then when you’re about to hit the water you fold your body into a V-shape with your back pushed into your legs and your hands covering your face.

"After your butt touches the water and your back and legs are submerged, you unfold so you're basically flat in the water and that helps give you a nice ‘pop’. If you get a deep pop then most of the time your splash is powerful.”

Splash volume and height are among the judging criteria, along with style and originality.

“If you’re struggling you’ve got someone at the pool to support you. Keep persisting and watch YouTube, there’s tutorials there which are a good way to learn. Usually on a hot day there’s lots of people to help and to watch and encourage you.”

Christchurch City Council Head of Recreation, Sports and Events Nigel Cox says manus are all about maximising the fun factor in a safe environment.

“There are a few rules at each facility around the depth of the pool and the best techniques.

“The important thing is to follow any guidance from lifeguards as this helps ensure a safe, enjoyable time for everyone.”

There are trophies, pool memberships and t-shirts up for grabs at this year’s competition which has four categories: females, under 13’s, 13-18 years and adults.

To get updates on events at your local pool and for opening hours, visit the Council website.