Gold medal winner's amazing new beachfront house and spa pool

Champion kayaker Ian Ferguson is one of New Zealand’s most successful sportspeople. Now retired, Ian has spent the past year building his dream home at a sublime beachfront location near Auckland.

The beachfront location is close to Ian and his wife Aly’s hearts. They discovered it on their honeymoon 47 years ago.

“We camped on the beach for a night while I went surfing. We actually came down the road we now live on.”

Never imagining they’d settle there, they bought their section in 2006, and Ian built the bach.

“I had no idea we’d be back there. I just wanted to retire to a nice, warm climate with a surfing beach. And I knew this was a surfing beach, not too far from Auckland and the rest of the family.”

Watch: Ian Ferguson talks about his next challenge – building his own house!

They knew they’d build a permanent home on the property one day. That dream is now almost a reality with Ian designing and leading the building of their brand new home.

“We’re not in yet. It hasn’t had sign off, but our spa pool’s in, and we walk up there for our spa.”

The spa is central to their family- filled lifestyle. The new Vortex Nitro AvanteTM is situated on a purpose-built timber deck, commanding a prime beachfront view.

"Gold medal winning kayaker Ian Ferguson is one of New Zealand’s most successful sportspeople. Now retired, Ian's been building his dream home by the sea."

The spa helps connect them to their two sons and four grandchildren, continuing their long-held family spa traditions.

“We’ve always had a spa. I just liked having a spa after training sometimes or just for the hell of it. It’s great.

“We’ve got this amazing view of the beach, and when we’re in the spa, we look right down on the waves. We can go surfing and just wander on back and jump in the spa and warm up.

It’s a tradition that once you’ve been swimming or surfing down at the beach, you come up, sit in the spa and warm up again.”

"Life's all about the ocean for the Ferguson family, who are all self-described “water people”."

It’s especially true of Ian and Aly’s “little boys”, their grandsons aged 8, 9 and 11 who, after coming in frozen from surfing, warm up in the spa with a lemonade.

“They always get lemonade in the spa,” says Ian, but he’s not complaining. “It’s my cunning plan that they all surf, so they’ll always come and visit me as they get older. They’ll want to come to stay at my place and surf.”

Life is all about the ocean for the Ferguson family, who are all self- described “water people”. They’ve all been surf lifesavers, swimmers, kayakers and now sailors.

Son Steven Ferguson, a high-performing sportsman and Olympian, sailed for Emirates Team NZ in this year’s America’s Cup.

“He was a grinder. He did similar things to me. He started as a swimmer and initially went to the Olympics as a swimmer. The next three Olympics, he went as a kayaker, and then he turned to America’s Cup grinding, and they won the cup.”

While Ian has stopped competing, he won’t say an absolute no to any more competitive racing.

“I’ve still got some racing stuff which I like to go for a paddle on occasionally. But I’m not driven to race for any result. I’m too competitive. I won’t race unless I’ve trained hard.”

These days, Ian is more about enjoying life, hanging out in the spa, having his grandchildren over, and surfing and fishing. The Nitro Avante™ fits his lifestyle perfectly.

“Aly and I are the main spa users. We usually have a spa together with a glass of wine. We’re happy to relax in it, chat and just enjoy the ambience of it."

"We normally have a spa together with a glass of wine. We’re happy to relax in it, chat and just enjoy the ambience of it."
Ian Ferguson

“It’s big enough for up to five people to all be comfortable, like when we get the grandkids here, they pile in and love it. Because it’s got personalised seats, everywhere you sit is made for just getting in and relaxing. It’s also ideally situated for stargazing."

“We love to pop into the spa at night. It’s not a very populous area we live in. Our end of the bay is coastal and rural so there are not many neighbours and you don’t get too much light pollution.

"We enjoy going out and having a spa and looking at the stars.”

The most interesting thing they’ve seen is Elon Musk’s satellites.

“There were hundreds of satellites. They just looked like stars dragging on a chain behind each other. It was incredible.”

"The jets aren’t as rough as a massage, but they’re getting there—and they definitely relieve aches and pains. "
Ian Ferguson

Along with having more bells and whistles and being cosier than their previous spas, it was the jets that sold Ian on the Nitro over any other model.

“I liked it because it had lots of jets. I particularly like the neck therapy collar, but I also like getting jets everywhere, cranking on me. I’m used to it from when I was an athlete getting big massages. I enjoyed the feel of it.

The jets aren’t as rough as a massage, but they’re getting there—and they definitely relieve aches and pains.”

"There’s bugger all maintenance. Nothing to do. I test it occasionally and throw a teaspoon of chlorine in every time we finish it."
Ian Ferguson

His advice to anyone wanting to build their own home?

“Definitely retire first, and then it’s easy. You just spend your time doing it. It keeps you busy. I would hate to have been trying to work and do it.”

Ian and Aly hope to move into their new home in time for summer.

“We’ve got two levels. Ours is the top-level, and once it’s finished, we’ll be able to move in.”

" Ian's advice to anyone wanting to build their own home? Retire first and spend your free-time working on the house!"

The bottom level is for their family.

“We’ll just potter away at that, and I can relax a bit more. I won’t work so hard. I’ll go surfing and fishing a bit more.”

The house has worked out better than they imagined.

"Everything is just right. The view is far better than I thought, and the spa pool is definitely in the right spot. "
Ian Ferguson

“Everything is just right. The view is far better than I thought, and the spa pool is definitely in the right spot. It’s all exactly what I wanted or better.

I’m really proud of what we’ve done. It certainly is an amazing build. We’re looking forward to moving in.”

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