Waimarama IRB guns Ben Cross and Michael Harman will be looking to get a jump on the competition at the first round of the BP Surf Rescue Series at Omaha Beach, north of Auckland, tomorrow.
The Hawke's Bay pair were the second-best crew in New Zealand last season, finishing behind East End's Andrew Cronin and James Morwood at the national championships in Whangamata in April.
But with Cronin and Morwood missing from tomorrow's lineup, Cross and Harman will be chasing more success, following on from their win at the 90 Mile Classic endurance race in Northland in September.
Their main premier rivals at Omaha will be Mairangi Bay's Cam Pocock and Travis Mitchell and Muriwai's Brent Matuschka and David Butt.
The four-round series is a new concept, with the IRB community wanting more opportunities to race either side of Christmas in the buildup to the BP Surf Rescue Championships in late March.
Tomorrow's first round has also attracted five women's crews, 10 in the highly competitive under-21 division and nine senior crews.
Racing will get underway at 9am. Follow the SLSNZ Facbeook for updates and photos - www.facebook.com/surflifesaving