Oakura's Paige Hareb was surfing the waves in Hawaii yesterday, blissfully unaware that she had scooped the major prize at last night's Taranaki Sportsperson of the Year awards.
Hareb, who is competing on the women's World Championship Tour surfing circuit, won the overall title at the Taranaki Daily News-sponsored awards function in New Plymouth after earlier in the night winning the Taranaki Junior Sportswoman of the Year title. She is the first junior winner to win the overall title.
Hareb qualified for the world tour, dubbed the Dream Tour, late last year.
Only 17 women in the world qualify for the tour and she is the first New Zealander to do so. Hareb has recorded two third placings, two fifths and three ninths this year.
The competition runs until next month when her final points will be known. She is currently in the top seven on the tour.
Hawera's Daryl Hurley won the Taranaki Sportsman of the Year title.
The talented motocross rider dominated competition again this year.
He won four New Zealand titles this year – motocross champion MX2, grand prix champion MX1, grand prix champion-of-champions and Supercross champion MX1.
New Zealand White Ferns cricketer Aimee Watkins collected her third Taranaki Sportswoman of the Year title having won previously in 2003 and 2007.
She was vice-captain of the White Ferns at the World Cup and captain of the team at the Twenty20 World Cup. New Zealand finished second in both.
Watkins was the highest run scorer at the Twenty20 event, was named in the world selection side and was the leading New Zealand wicket-taker at the 50-over World Cup competition. Watkins also captained the Central Districts Hinds side in the State League.
The Senior Sports Team of the Year trophy went to the Taranaki Open Surf League team.
The national competition showcases the best athletes from eight districts in the country and, for many years, the event has been dominated by teams from Auckland and Canterbury.
But this year, the 13-strong mixed Taranaki team won the title by the biggest winning points margin in the event's history. The team competed in 34 events over two days. Taranaki last won the title in 1997.
Hawera's Daniel Fake is this year's Taranaki Junior Sportsman of the Year.
Representing New Zealand, Fake competed at the Pacific School Games, the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, the World Youth Games in Italy and the winter series on the Gold Coast where he won the high jump.
At the New Zealand track and field championships, Fake won both the triple and high jump and was third in the long jump. Fake also won the long jump at the New Zealand secondary schools' championships and won four Central Region and two Taranaki titles.
The combined New Plymouth Boys' High School-New Plymouth Girls' High School Hillary Challenge Adventure racing team won the Taranaki Junior Sports Team of the Year title.
For the past few years, teams from these two schools have won this tough challenge and this year was no exception. The team made the top-12 final after a qualifying round comprising 35 teams and went on to take the 2009 title.
Bell Block swimming coach Sue Southgate won the Taranaki Coach of the Year title for the second year running.
Three swimmers from Southgate's training squad have represented New Zealand this year and also broken New Zealand swimming records. She also successfully trained competitors in surf lifesaving and triathlon who placed at world events.
From her squad of 60 swimmers there have also been numerous Taranaki age-group medals and records.
Netball's Sue Winter won the Taranaki Game Official of the Year title.
This year Winter has been a bench official at both the ANZ Championship and the Lois Muir Challenge as well as the statistician for the ANZ Cup. She also held both these roles at the national championships.
Netball New Zealand has nominated Winter to be a technical official at the Commonwealth Games in India next year.
The Taranaki Volunteer of the Year title was awarded to rugby league's Kathy Boxer.
A life member of Taranaki Rugby League, Boxer has been the registration officer for the Junior Rugby League Board since 1989. She is responsible for documenting all player details from under-six to under-16 teams each year.
During the representative season, she prepares all the paperwork for the managers and coaches, distributes and collects uniforms and maintains the records and results. She is also a match manager for both junior and senior games.
Badminton's Trent Riddick is this year's winner of the Taranaki Masters Sportsperson of the Year award.
Riddick is the No 1 player in Taranaki and this year has won the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles.
At the New Zealand Masters he played in the 35-years-plus division and won the singles and mixed doubles, beating many ex-New Zealand players.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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