Rodney surf lifesaver wins big title
Matt Thetford claimed his fourth consecutive Ironman title at the Northern Region Surf Life Saving Championships at Ruakaka last weekend.
Competing against some of the best under-19 Ironman athletes in the country, Red Beach's Thetford showed his class when he won the under-19 crown in an exciting finish.
The endurance race included the disciplines of surf ski, surf swim and board race, culminating in a sprint up the beach to the finish flags. Ten of the 16 finalists were from the Bay of Plenty.
Thetford's string of triumphs began in 2011, his first year in under-16 ranks, when he took out the under-16 Ironman event.
He retained the title the following summer, also at Ruakaka, then went on to win the under-19 Ironman event in 2013.
Thetford came away from the two-day championships with four gold and four silver medals. He also won the under-19 surf race and was a key player in the surf teams and ski relay wins.
The overall points trophy won by Red Beach over the weekend will keep company with the Northern Region Junior Surf points trophy collected by its seven to 13-year-old athletes just two weeks earlier.
Orewa surf athletes also put in some notable performances at Ruakaka, pushing their club to third place on the points table.
Junior Surf athletes from Northern Region clubs are in Mt Maunganui for four days of competition at Oceans '14, the equivalent of the NZ Surf Life Saving Championships for 10 to 13-year-old competitors.
Overall points: Red Beach (205) 1, Papamoa (184) 2, Orewa (111) 3, Piha (105) 4, Mairangi Bay (64) 5, Mt Maunganui (52) 6, Muriwai Beach (45) 7, United North Piha (19) 8, Whangamata (17) 9, Waikanae (12) 10, Karekare (12) 11, Bethells Beach (9) 12, Omanu (9) 13, Waipu Cove (9) 14, Ruakaka (3) 15, Waihi Beach (1) 16, Omaha (1) 17.