Fast start for Aussie-based surf stars

Friday, 16 March 2012

Australian-based Kiwis stamped an early mark on the State New Zealand surf lifesaving championships at Midway Beach, Gisborne, today.

Sydney's Devon Halligan, competing for the host club, eased home to win the open women's run-swim-run in choppy, cold conditions on the opening morning of the three-day carnival.  Mairangi Bay's Maddie Boon and New Plymouth Old Boys' Ayla Dunlop-Barrett filled the minor placings.

Omanu's Max Beattie, who is based at the strong Northcliffe club on the Gold Coast, then won a dramatic sprint up the beach to capture the open men's run-swim-run crown.

First into the water, Beattie came out of the half-metre chop with a trio of accomplished swimmers, New Plymouth Old Boys star Glenn Anderson, Piha's Steve Ferguson and Midway's Mike Janes.

Anderson, who has won the national run-swim-run title six times previously, faded to fourth, while Beattie's fast legs took him past Janes (second) and Olympic kayaker and swimmer Ferguson.

"I had a bit of a GPS error when I ran into the water on the right-hand side and had to cut back a bit to get back on the guys feet and then after I got around the can, I came home as fast as I could," Beattie said.

"I love running and I knew if I could get my legs up and be the first one to the hard sand, I knew I wouldn't be too far off giving it a shot."

Beattie, who trains with Northcliffe stars Zane Holmes and Shannon Eckstein, admitted the cool southerly conditions in Gisborne took some getting used to.

"I jumped in the water and it was a huge shock to the system but the training over there at Northcliffe is invaluable - you line up each day against the best ironmen in the world and the weather doesn't really bother you if you know you've got that sort of training behind you."

Midway's Chris Dawson completed a promising morning from the host club, winning the under-19 men's title just ahead of clubmate Cory Taylor, while Papamoa's Natalie Peat continued her good form by winning the under-19 women's title.

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Omanu's Max Beattie (left) on his way to victory in the open men's run-swim-run at the 2012 State New Zealand surf lifesaving championships at Midway Beach, Gisborne.  Mike Janes (centre, Midway) and Steve Ferguson (Piha) filled the minor placings.  
Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Journalism.