Article by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services
A frustrating season of surf boat rowing is set to explode into action in Thursday's Whangamata Surf Boat Spectacular.
The annual carnival doubles as the second round of the national series and nearly 60 crews are expected to descend on the Coromandel holiday spot.
Adding further spice to the mix, New Zealand selectors will use the event to pick male and female crews to compete against the best boats in Australia in February's ASRL Open in Stockton, New South Wales.
After the first round of the series in Paekakariki was cancelled due to a Kapiti Coast weather bomb, selectors have even organised a trial preceding competition on Thursday, hoping to paint a clearer picture of the form crews.
"There are a whole lot of variables in surf, especially if there's a little bit of a wave, so we're not just restricting our selections to a one-off unless it's really clear-cut and decisive," selector Geoff Hogan explained. "If things aren't clear-cut in the trial, we'll look at performances during the rest of the day's racing."
Perennial men's favourites Piha - swept by Mark Bourneville - won the New Zealand selection last year, although fierce rivals from Titahi Bay, Red Beach and Orewa are likely to be chasing hard.
With last year's national representatives Mairangi Bay retiring, the women's selection is a lottery, with Red Beach, Piha and Omanu all having legitimate claims in front of Hogan and fellow selectors Shane Radovanovich and Craig Dillon.
The trial will start at 9am, with racing in under-19, under-21, under-23 and open divisions starting at 10am.
championship-winning crews will be hunting more glory in Whangamata
Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services