Former All White Noah Hickey helps raise money for Kiwi surfer Ricardo Christie

A Kiwi football favourite is using his passion for surfing to help New Zealand's top-ranked wave-rider return to the world league.

Former All White Noah Hickey has raised over $35,000 for Ricardo Christie, to give him the best possible shot at qualifying.

In 2015 Christie became the first Kiwi since Maz Quinn in 2001 to qualify for the World Surf League Championship Tour but has since struggled with securing the funding needed to compete on the world tour - until now.

Speaking to Newshub, Hickey opened up about why he decided to back Christie in his quest to return to the top.

"I'm such a fan of surfing and I got the tour events," Hickey told Newshub.

"I've been to Snapper Rock and the Quiksilver Pro and I went to the Fiji pro last year and all I've ever thought is that I wish I was here supporting Riccardo because I missed the year he was on tour.

"All the way through last year I was watching and thought I'm going to do something about this because I've been fortunate enough with some business going well and thought well I'm going to go through with this.

Noah Hickey.
Noah Hickey. Photo credit: Photosport

"Randomly one night I was speaking with Brooke Howard-Smith who has helped bring all this together asked me what I wanted to achieve this year and I said 'I want to get Ricardo Christie back on tour and it just carried on from there.

"We all want to see a Kiwi on the world stage wherever that may be and to think you played a role in that is very special."

The money raised will go towards the 29-year-olds travel and competition costs with any additional money going towards Ricardo's foundation which is aimed at growing surfing in New Zealand and helping the next generation of Kiwi surfers make the tour.

Christie was delighted to hear the news that he had some backing and will go up against over 500 people around the world during qualifying. 

"Too often in the past, I have passed up crucial opportunities that I would have benefited greatly from because my budget simply wouldn't allow for it," said Christie.

"In this crucial time in the peak of my ability and career, having the support to truly focus 100 percent on being the best athlete I can be, whilst remaining in my home country means the absolute world to me.

"I have no doubt in my mind it will play an integral part in my success moving forward and am honoured to have this opportunity."

Newshub.