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SBNZ welcomes Ian Neely as Pathway Development Manager

Portrait of Ian Neely.

The core focus of this new role — Skateboarding New Zealand’s first paid position — is to help build the capability for the organisation and shape its performance frameworks with an emphasis on supporting both coach and athlete development.

Ian is excited by the prospects New Zealand athletes and coaches have in front of them. 

“It’s a fantastic challenge to grow something special for New Zealand. Skateboarding has a large, talented community with a lot of passionate people from all walks of life. SBNZ has the building blocks already in place — we just need to bring people together, learn together and create an accurate path towards what we dream about.”

Ian has spent most of his career working with and developing high-performance athletes in Yachting. He began coaching professionally in 1995. He has been a coach and manager of high-performance programmes since 2003. He has a track record of building pathways towards success, but he makes sure to have a heap of fun along the way. 

“I hope to bring people together to learn from each other, enjoy each other’s individuality and thrive on each other’s passion, skills and knowledge. I hope to provide new opportunities for skateboarders and coaches to achieve their dreams.”

While there is a lot of work, he believes we can create something extraordinary. 

“I like to listen to people in the community, understand the barriers for individuals and the programme and then develop or find ways to create something unique. I hope my experience can help establish clear pathways to success and enjoyment for our kiwi Skateboarders.” 

SBNZ’s volunteer board has done extensive work to ensure the objectives of this role are aligned with the priorities of our funding partner, HPSNZ, and match the aspirations of its membership. 

Former SBNZ President, Chris Curran, developed the foundations of the SBNZ high-performance programme and the relationships that have supported it over several years. As a board member, he remains vital to developments in this space. 

“Ian’s experience is second to none! We have built a strong relationship with him over the last few years. SBNZ’s ability to develop its high-performance plan and secure funding has been largely due to Ian’s knowledge and involvement. With Ian onboard as the Pathway Development Manager, we can keep the momentum going.”

Co-Chair Sonia Griffin is thrilled about what Ian brings to the Skateboarding New Zealand team. 

“He has an outstanding track record for building athletes and coaches to compete at the highest level of sport. His fresh perspective on the sport and personable, laid-back style is already gaining him respect among our coaches. We look forward to Ian’s contributions as we work towards pathways to future international success.”

The first action for Ian is to build key relationships with coaches and athletes and start designing a programme that works for them. 

“It’s exciting because we as a community can create a programme tailored to the skateboarders’ needs. We are not limited by existing structures or ways of doing things. We have the freedom to create what will work for skateboarding.”

To learn more about our Pathway Development and High-Performance programmes, please reach out to Ian Neely at or Sonia Griffin at

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