Fifth straight title for Mt Maunganui lifeguards at NZ surf life saving champs
North Island clubs dominated the national surf life saving championships in Christchurch with Mt Maunganui Lifeguard Service taking champion honours for a fifth consecutive year.
The Bay of Plenty team led from the first day of the four-day TSB Bank national championships which ended on Sunday at New Brighton beach.
Auckland's Mairangi Bay finished second in an emotional result. Team members wore black bands in tribute to late Silver Ferns netball Tania Dalton, a Mairangi Bay club member.
Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club from Gisborne managed to take third at the annual event, despite being a relatively small team. They finished only six points behind Mairangi Bay.
Rounding out the top five was Piha Surf Life Saving Club (fourth) and Orewa Surf Life Saving Club (fifth).
Black Fins Cory Taylor and Danielle McKenzie were the individual stars.
Gisborne's Taylor took out the men's open ironman and ski race finals and McKenzie also achieved the same double in the women's field.
McKenzie also won the board race and was second in the swim run.
She edged out Rio Olympic Games paddler Kylie Imrie in the ski race with Piha's Teneale Hatton third.
Devon Halligan (Omanu) was runner-up to McKenzie in the ironwoman event with Kirsty Wannan (Piha) the bronze medallist.
Taylor triumphed in the ironman ahead of Oliver Piddock (Mt Maunganui) and three-time former champion Max Beattie (Omanu).
His ski race victory came after outpointing two Canterbury competitors, Liam O'Loughlin (Taylor's Mistake) and Ryan Quickenden (South Brighton).
McKenzie was also runner-up in the board race and swim run.
The Waimairi open women's canoe team from Christchurch won every race in taking both the long course and short course titles.
Cold conditions on Saturday proved challenging, but there were still some superb performances.
Liam Chesney from Lyall Bay Surf Life Saving Club managed to win both the under-16 and under-19 two-kilometre beach run event, while taking third in the open class against more experienced athletes.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand sport manager, Mike Lord said Mt Maunganui "performed brilliantly all weekend".
"In fact, all of the athletes did extremely well this weekend. A lot of the races were really close and that's due to the talent of the lifeguards. They were also fair and supportive to each other which is always fantastic to see, in any sport."
Event manager, Prue Younger was delighted with the four-day extravaganza.
"Overall it was an absolutely fantastic event. We really enjoyed being back in Christchurch and I think all of the teams did too. The hospitality from Christchurch and New Brighton locals has been second-to-none and we're really grateful for their support.
"The support for the event from surf clubs and sponsors has also made this event special."
The next major event on the Surf Life Saving New Zealand sport calendar is the BP IRB Nationals, held at Waipu Cove on April 1-2.
AT A GLANCE
Top five overall points at the national surf life saving championships in Christchurch.
Mt Maunganui Lifeguard Service 156pts 1, Mairangi Bay Surf Life Saving Club 96pts 2, Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club 87pts 3, Piha Surf Life Saving Club 54pts 4, Orewa Surf Life Saving Club 49pts 5.