Surf Life Saving athletes descend

There will be 850 athletes competing in this year’s Eastern Region Championships. Photo: Tracy Hardy.

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One of the biggest lifesaving events has kicked off today, with hundreds of athletes from around the country taking part.

The annual Eastern Region Championships this year will see a total of 850 athletes, aged between 14 up to their mid-40s, compete in the surf and on the sand near Mount Maunganui Surf Life Saving Club today and tomorrow.

“There are 34 clubs attending the competition from as far north as Omaha and as far south as Saint Clare's and Dunedin,” says Eastern Region club and membership development officer Chaz Gibbons-Campbell.

“They sort of use the eastern region champs as a tester for Nationals, to see what they are up against and where they are sitting in terms of physical physique.”

This morning there was the ski races and later today there will be the board races and beach flag races.

For people wanting to come along tomorrow there will be the ironman and Taplin around 9am. The Taplin is a multi-person race where one of the three people either compete in a swim, board or ski race and in the Ironman one person does all three races.

There will also be simulator real-life rescues, tub rescues and long course and short course canoe and boat races.

Katrina Gadskey from the Mount came first in the Under 19 race.

Lucy Makaia, 17, in the Under 19 board heat.

Michael Lee from Mairangi Bay in the open men's semifinal for skiing.



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Hairy Maclary and his friends at dusk. Photo: Lynley Whitaker.

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