They've endured plenty over the last month but finally Papamoa surf lifeguards have had something to celebrate.
Inundated by oil from the Rena spill and with whales stranding in front of their Bay of Plenty clubhouse, a 60-strong team took a welcome trip to Hamilton and came back clutching the overall title at the State New Zealand pool championships.
And they did it in style, finishing with 948.5 points from the three-day carnival and ending the five-year reign of Lyall Bay, who were second with 746 points.
"This is certainly a timely boost for the club and community," Papamoa coach Kurt Wilson said. "We've been training in the pool since May and, while it's been tough keeping them out of the ocean for the last month, at least they've had something else to focus on."
Wilson's challenge will come now, keeping his athletes fit while they're not allowed on their home beach because of continued clean-up efforts.
Papamoa, Lyall Bay and third-placed Mount Maunganui all had big teams competing at the championships, which attracted record entries of 550 athletes.
Among the individual stars were Beijing Olympian and Commonwealth Games silver medalist Natasha Hind, who helped Lyall Bay's cause with dominant wins in the open women's 100m rescue medley, 200m swim with obstacles, 200m super lifesaver and the 50m manikin carry.
A 16-member Australian under-20 team also competed at the championships, including Devon Halligan, daughter of former Waikato rugby player and Kiwis league star Daryl.
Another former Olympian, kayaker and swimmer Steve Ferguson, took out the 50m manikin carry while Midway's Chris Dawson was the fastest Kiwi home in the 200m super lifesaver.
Dawson's form also won him selection in the eight-strong New Zealand team heading for the German Cup in Europe next month.
With several athletes unavailable, selectors still managed to include the experience of New Zealand captain Glenn Anderson, his New Plymouth Old Boys' teammate Ayla Dunlop-Barrett and another current national team member Steve Kent.
St Clair's Andrew McMillan is also included, along with Madison
Boon (Mairangi Bay) and rising stars Samantha Lee (Lyall Bay) and
Dannielle O'Connor (Omanu).
Final club points: Papamoa 948.5 1, Lyall Bay 746 2, Mt Maunganui 722 3, Waikanae 564.5 4, New Plymouth Old Boys 358 5, Midway 287 6, Piha 281.5 7, Sumner 215 8, St Clair 164 9, Paekakariki 138 10.