Unseasonable weather saw a wet start to the 2012 Queenstown Winter Festival but the weather gods played their part and the sun came out yesterday, providing perfect winter conditions for some of the annual event's crowd favourites.
A large crowd flocked to the edge of Queenstown Bay to watch as hardy souls threw themselves into the chilly waters of Lake Wakatipu in the hope of winning one of the hotly contested Day on the Bay events yesterday. The events included the Birdman competition, postponed from Saturday due to poor weather.
Festival director Simon Green praised the entrants for being "good sports" and putting on a great show.
Thunder Jet's Kylie Tomlin outclassed her male competitors when she took out the 2012 title for the Jet Sprints on Lake Wakatipu in a time of one minute and four seconds. Miss Tomlin, the first woman to win the race, was followed closely by second placegetter Chris Hansen of Skippers Canyon Jet (1.07), while Nick Simpson of Shotover Jet (1.12) came in third.
A bunch of competitors braved the freezing waters of Lake Wakatipu for the Splash & Dash, a 50-metre swim followed by a dash down the beach.
American Nick Farrell won the men's division and Paula Barker claimed the women's title.
Rounding out the action on the beach was the Undy 500. Gemma Eva took first place in the women's event and Anaru Curwood won the hotly contested men's race.
Competitors in the Birdman event provided plenty of entertainment as they threw themselves into Lake Wakatipu in a spectacular fashion.
This year's field featured everything from pole dancers to cardboard rally cars but it was the "Pack & Send" team, featuring the Wiggles driving a tank, which took out first prize in the corporate section while reigning champs "The Orange Men" won the award for best non-corporate entry.
The festival continues today with Zumba Mania scheduled to start at midday at Earnslaw Park before the Ladies Fashion Challenge at Queenstown Memorial Hall at 8pm.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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