Teens make NZ surf lifesaving team debut

Posted by Administrator on Thursday, November 24, 2011

Teenagers Kodi Harman and Emily Hodges will make their international debuts when a New Zealand surf lifesaving team competes in Australia this weekend.

Papamoa's Harman, 17, and 15-year-old Hodges (Piha) will compete in the sprint events at the Coffs Harbour Craft Carnival on Saturday and Sunday's Fastest Man on Sand round in Redcliffe.

They're part of a 12-strong New Zealand A team using the tough Australian races to build up for a big summer of racing. 

Harman has had an eventful year already, stunning his older rivals by winning the open men's beach sprint title as a 16-year-old at the State New Zealand championships in March.

He also won the Australian under-17 flags title two weeks later and came within a whisker of adding the under-17 sprint title at the same event, only to stumble with the line in sight.

Consequently, he doesn't expect to take his Aussie rivals by surprise this weekend.

"I guess they kind of know who I am because of New Zealand nationals and Aussie nationals but I'll just go over and do my best - only this time, I'll hopefully finish the sprint as well!" Harman quipped.

Hodges is the current New Zealand under-16 beach flags champion and was a late call-up into the team, replacing Maddie Boon who is in Europe with New Zealand's eight-strong German Cup team.

There's a solid core of experience in the squad heading to Australia - world beach flags champion Paul Cracroft-Wilson (Fitzroy) will compete, along with Hawke's Bay's Nikki Cox and five-time national ironman champion Daniel Moodie.

Current New Zealand ironman and ironwoman champions Chris Moors and Aimee Berridge are also in the team, along with Mount Maunganui sprinter and board paddler Arna Wright.

There's also a clutch of younger talent, like Harman, Hodges, Gisborne ironman star Cory Taylor and Mairangi Bay triathlete Danielle McKenzie.

New Zealand coach Scott Bartlett is delighted with the depth starting to form in the national ranks.

"Athletes like Kev Morrison and Mike Janes were left out of the New Zealand team because of injuries over winter and we didn't want to put any more pressure on them from a selection point of view but they're likely to use the Coffs Harbour carnival to see where they are in terms of preparation," Bartlett said.

Bartlett won't be with this team - he's currently in Germany helping an eight-strong New Zealand pool team prepare for this week's German Cup.

Harman, meanwhile, is also looking forward to racing on sand again, with the Rena disaster off Papamoa closing his home beach until last week.

"I've done the odd sand session, with a couple of sessions of turns and starts at the Mount Main Beach, but otherwise I've had to do everything on the track," Harman said.

"Luckily the track's been enough and hopefully it hasn't affected me too much but it's been pretty tough on the rest of the guys in the club."

NZ A team:Aimee Berridge (Mount Maunganui), Emily Hodges (Piha), Nikki Cox (Westshore), Paul Cracroft-Wilson (Fitzroy), Kodi Harman (Papamoa), Chanel Hickman (South Brighton), Danielle McKenzie (Mairangi Bay), Daniel Moodie (Westshore), Chris Moors (Red Beach), Daniel Nelson (East End), Cory Taylor (Midway), Arna Wright (Mount Maunganui).

Follow the team at the SLSNZ High Performance Facebook page or at sport.surflifesaving.org.nz/nzateam

JT100411Aussies 02

Kodi Harman (Papamoa) racing at Aussies 2011 / Photo thanks to Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Journalism

along with Mount Maunganui sprinter and board paddler Arna Wright.

« Previous Article Next Article »