Lifeguards dig deep for gold medals
Rodney and Hibiscus Coast lifeguards produced sparkling performances at the NZ Surf Life Saving Championships at Whakatane's Ohope Beach last weekend.
More than 1600 competitors from nearly 50 surf clubs battled for titles in the surf and on the sand.
Red Beach Surf Club, with its eight gold medals, finished third on overall points, while Orewa also had a top eight placing.
Individual gold medal winning performances for Red Beach were delivered by Naomi Young in the open women's beach flags; Matt Thetford in the under-19 men's board race; Briar McLeely in the under-19 women's ski event, and Lauren Bailey in the under-19 women's 2km run.
Taking out gold in team events were Liam Fannin, Izaak Scheib, Calvin Vari and Adrian Vasiljevic in the under-16 men's beach relay. Rebecca Pearce and Hannah Williams were first home in the under-16 board rescue, then teamed up with Brie Downey to secure the under-16 Taplin relay final.
Wrapping up the club's eighth title was the Sirens surf boat crew of Zita Talaic-Burgess, Ashleigh Jenkins, Kelly Andrew, Madison Smith, Katrina Gouldstone and Shane O'Halloran in the open women's long course surf boat race. Four weeks earlier the crew represented New Zealand in the Trans-Tasman Surf Boat Challenge in Australia.
For the Orewa club, Adam Parker won the under-19 men's beach flags; Ella Drinnan swam home first in the under-16 women's surf race, and James Scott won the under-16 men's board race. Scott then teamed up with Taine Johnston to win the under-16 board rescue.
Beach sprinters Marijke De Kort, Hattie Jones, Kelsey Lewis and Annelise Lockie won Orewa's fifth gold medal in the under-16 women's beach relay.
Muriwai Beach's two gold medals came from its under-23 women's crews in the surf boat arena. The wins were notched up by the Muriwai Muzis in the short course event and the Muriwai Cats over the long course.
Kelsi Boocock and Hannah Williams from the Red Beach club are in the just named New Zealand Youth Team to travel to France in September.
National surf life saving championship points: Mt Maunganui 176, Papamoa 99, Red Beach 81, Piha 60, Fitzroy 51, Midway 35, Orewa 33, Waikanae 32, Mairangi Bay 30, Waimairi 25, St Clair 24, Omanu Beach 22, Titahi Bay 20, Lyall Bay 18, Muriwai 18.