Mount lifeguards extend lead in champs

North Beach surf boat crew hitting a wave in the TSB New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships in Gisborne. Photo: Cameron Walker.

The 83-strong Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service team have extended their lead at Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s pinnacle event of the year, the TSB New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships taking place this weekend in Gisborne.

Worsening weather conditions made racing trickier than usual on Saturday, but it was no barrier for the dominant team Bay of Plenty team who pushed their lead out to 75 points.

Local team Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club has kept pushing hard and continue to hold second place, but now sit only two points behind the leading team heading into the final day today.

Rounding out the podium in third is Mairangi Bay Surf Life Saving Club who end the day on 37 points.

Interestingly, clubs from each of the four SLSNZ regions throughout New Zealand are represented in the top 10, again showing how talented surf lifeguards are right around the country.

In a rare twist, a father and daughter duo managed to win the mixed double ski race, a feat not often seen in any sport or surf lifesaving. Todd and Phoebe Grace from Titahi Bay took first place in the challenging race and were clearly overjoyed with the win where they celebrated with more family on the beach.

TSB New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships event manager Scott Bicknell says Saturday was “completely different” to Friday but still “very rewarding and enjoyable”.

“Saturday has been the complete opposite from yesterday in terms of the weather but we’ve had no complaints. The athletes are all enjoying the racing despite the wind, rain and big swell today so from our point of view, it has been another hugely successful day.

“Sunday will be a big day for the athletes with a busy schedule and a lot of key final events. There are a lot of points to be won, plus it could make all the difference for a lot of clubs in terms of their overall result so it will certainly be an exciting day of racing.”

Today marks the last day of the TSB New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships, which starts at 8am and continues until approximately 3pm.


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