Kiwis finish Aussie surf titles in the medals

Monday, 2 April 2012

New Zealand surf lifesavers picked up three more golds as the Australian championships drew to a close on the Gold Coast today, while the minor medals also came thick and fast.

Taranaki swimmer Ayla Dunlop-Barrett led the charge on North Kirra Beach, helping Australian club Northcliffe win the open women's tube rescue title, along with teammates Kelly Jury, Kathryn McKenzie and Jessica Walker.  Dunlop-Barrett also won bronze in the open women's surf teams race, helping the Northcliffe B team secure third behind the star-studded Northcliffe A team and Maroochydore.

Another Northcliffe Kiwi, Kevin Morrison, helped his open men's tube rescue team win gold also, along with star swimmer Dev Lahey, Nick Pluimers and Stuart Snell.

And in one of the event's last races, the Papamoa under-17 ski relay team - Jackson Edwards, Seth Merrett and Michael Bryant - capped a marvelous campaign for the Bay of Plenty club by heading home teams from Burnie Burnie and Noosa Heads.

Another Papamoa athlete, Natalie Peat, picked up silver in the under-17 ski race while her clubmates Mason Pickering and Danny Kayes were fifth and sixth in their first-ever attempt at the under-17 belt race.

Young Red Beach athlete Kelsi Boocock picked up bronze in the under-15 rescue tube race, while New Zealand kayaking star Teneale Hatton grabbed two bronzes in a busy last day for the Kurrawa club.

She finished a plucky third in the open women's ski race, behind Manly star Naomi Flood and Maroochydore's Alyce Burnett, then Hatton helped Kurrawa to third in the open women's taplin with teammates Hayley Bateup and Jade Neilsen.  Flood's Manly team - which also featured Candice Falzon and Devon Halligan, defended their open women's taplin title.

Just two weeks after winning the New Zealand open and under-19 ironwoman titles, Halligan - the daughter of former Kiwis rugby league star Daryl - backed up superbly by winning the Australian under-19 title and finishing second to Met Caloundra's Rebecca Creedy in the open ironwoman.

Late on Saturday, top Kiwi sprinter Chanel Hickman finished second to world champion Melissa Howard in the open women's beach flags, while veteran Morgan Foster pipped fellow Kiwi Paul Cracroft-Wilson in the men's event, with the pair finishing fourth and fifth respectively. Simon Harris, fresh from coming out of retirement, won his seventh Australian flags title

The feature ironman race was again won by Northcliffe superstar Shannon Eckstein, ahead of Tugun's Hugh Dougherty and Mooloolaba's Ali Day, with surf race winner and Olympics-bound open water swimmer Ky Hurst fourth.

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Papamoa's winning team - Jackson Edwards, Seth Merrett and Michael Bryant.
Photo by Jamie Nilsson