He boldly predicted it - and Piha surf boat sweep Shane 'Bugsy' O'Halloran and his crew managed to back their words up with deeds at the North Island championships in Waihi Beach today.
O'Halloran's Piha Boomers, with Wayne Simeon, Myles Bowker, Hugh McCarroll and Chris Eade rowing, upstaged their national champion clubmates Piha A, swept by Mark Bourneville, in a gripping open men's final.
Titahi Bay, swept by Wil McDowell, finished a valiant third having narrowly missed a wave in the final run home that would have given them successive wins in the national series. Instead, it was O'Halloran savouring the victory, along with the chance to decide the overall series title at Piha later this month.
"All we wanted was it to be a little bit gnarly and 3-4 foot waves, because we train on that stuff," O'Halloran said. "We've been progressing slowly but our target was this event. Not only do we get the North Island title, just as importantly it puts us into the hunt with Titahi Bay and the Piha A crew which sets it up perfectly for the Piha Big Wave challenge. At Piha, there's a whole different race strategy, so we're very happy with that win.
The rising swells at Waihi were tempered by onshore easterly winds, creating tricky channels and lulls for the boats to negotiate.
But nothing could stand in the way of the outstanding Mairangi Bay women's crew, who utterly dominated their division and showed themselves on another level.
The crew of Nina Reid, Carmel and Erin Tolhurst, Sarah Woolley and sweep Rob Jones, rowed away in the women's final to win comfortably, with Red Beach and Mount Maunganui fulling out the minor placings.
O'Halloran's great day continued when he swept the Piha Pirates to the under-23 title, ahead of Bourneville's Piha Pistols, while the Piha Coladas won the under-21 women's crown.
There was jubilation from the home beach supporters when Waihi's under-19 crew rowed home to take out their division, ahead of Titahi Bay and Red Beach, while Rarangi won the under-19 women's section.
The Piha Big Wave challenge is the fourth and final event on the national series, to be held on February 25.
Open Men: Piha Boomers (Wayne Simeon/Myles Bowker/Hugh McCarroll/Chris Eade/Sam Hibbard/Shane O'Halloran) 1, Piha A (Matt Kirke/Scott Lissington/Chris Morris/Ben Scott/Paul Gerritrsen/Mark Bourneville) 2, Titahi Bay Z (Wil McDowell/Jono Boyd/Nick Boyd/Dean Ellis/Tim Marsden/Jordan Te Paa/James Livingston) 3.
Open Women: Mairangi Bay Majic (Nina Reid/Carmel Tolhurst/Erin Tolhurst/Sarah Woolley/Rob Jones) 1, Red Beach Sirens (Zita Talaic/Lorraine Brake/Ashleigh Jenkins/Alexandra Gason/Madison Smith/Warren McGougan) 2, Mt Maunganui Gun Show (Mare Haitsma/Bethany Hopper/Charlotte Jones/Ashlea Stanford/Clayton Kellett) 3.
Under 23 Men: Piha Pirates (Nicholas MacKenzie/Shamus O'Halloran/Jed Wright/Cahon McCarthy/Shane O'Halloran) 1, Piha Pistols (Cebric Bourneville/Ludovik Bourneville/Benjamin Richards/Oliver Sawbridge/Jean-Paul Smit/Mark Bourneville) 2, Titahi Bay (Jono Boyd/Nick Boyd/Jordan Te Paa/Charles Graham/Tim Marsden) 3.
Under 21 Women: Piha Coladas (Audrey-Lise Bourneville/Claudia Goff/Gracey Monteith/Alice Rasmussen/Vicky Peck/Amelia Brown/Ben Scott) 1, Bethells Babes (David Oldham) 2, Rarangi Blue (Taylor Rogers/Georgia Ryan/Harriet Ryan/Norma-Jean Tyson/Alex Williams/Neil Watts) 3.
Under 19 Men: Waihi (Jack Kingsford/Josh Williamson/Luke Kingsford/David Grant/Carl Glyde/Dan Harris) 1, Titahi Bay (Isaac Cleland/Jamie Devitt/Shane Ellis/Arwyn Evans/Wil McDowell) 2, Red Beach Roosters (Matt Dillon/Joshua Everitt/Nicholas Teesdale/Matthew Hanson/Craig Dillon) 3.
Under 19 Women: Rarangi (Katie Burnett/Lara Campbell/Anna Hawkins/Taylor Rogers/Harriet Ryan/Ellen Taylor-Byrne/Tim Lovejoy) 1, Orewa (Rebecca Ash/Jazmin Hopper/Stacey Kurylo/Chloe Peters/Jake Griffiths) 2.
Masters Men: Red Beach Cabsavs (Chris McCullough/Duncan Reid/Tim Cameron/Phil Wihongi/Gordon Williams/Warren McGougan) 1, Omanu (Ady Van De Beek) 2, Waihi (Dan Harris) 3.