Mount Maunganui's Main Beach will be awash with junior athletes for four intense days of competition as they tackle the annual Under 14 New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships from March 2-5.
Known as Oceans '17, the annual competition has a proud history of being one of Surf Life Saving's biggest events which aims to encourage and promote young children to pursue a future in lifeguarding.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand Sport Manager Mike Lord says the carnival is the high point of the season and many of the athletes have been training and competing at a local level throughout the season in preparation.
"There's always an amazing atmosphere at the Oceans carnivals as the kids give the competition their all but also display great sportsmanship; looking out for one another and cheering each other on. It's a great chance for them to hang out with their mates in an environment that they love," he says.
Last year's event saw Omanu Beach Surf Life Saving Club successfully defend their championship title after fighting off stiff competition from around the country.
This year has attracted 898 entries from 46 Surf Life Saving Clubs around New Zealand from as far North as Waipu Cove to as far South as St Clair in Dunedin.
The largest group of athletes comes from Red Beach, just North of Auckland, with a total of 70 athletes followed by Mount Maunganui with 54 and Mairangi Bay with 52.
The largest age group being contested is the Under 13s with 276 competitors, followed by the Under 14s with 243, Under 12s with 224 and the Under 11s with 155.
As well as the sporting action on the beach, a number of Surf Life Saving sponsors including Zespri and EBOS Sport will have marquees set up on site to support and assist the young athletes in achieving their best throughout the four days of competition.
Bethells Beach SLSP
East End SLSC
Hot Water Beach LS
Kotuku Surf Life Saving
Lyall Bay SLSC
Mairangi Bay SLSC
Mangawhai Heads VLS
Mt Maunganui Lifeguard Service
Muriwai Volunteer Lifeguard Service Inc
New Plymouth Old Boys SLSC
North Beach SLSC
Ocean Beach Kiwi SLSC
Omaha Beach SLSC
Paekakariki Surf Lifeguards
Palmerston North SLSC
Red Beach SLSC
South Brighton SLSC
St Clair SLSC
St Kilda SLSC
Tairua Surf Life Saving Club
Taylors Mistake SLSC
Titahi Bay SLSC
Waihi Beach Lifeguard Services Inc
Waikuku Beach SLSC
Waipu Cove SLSC
Whiritoa Lifeguard Service
Worser Bay LSC
Lisa Smith, Media & Communications Manager, SLSNZ
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823