AJ Maney led his Red Beach club to victory at the Northern Region surf lifesaving championships at a sun-drenched Ruakaka over the weekend.
The 22-year-old won the open ironman and surf race, was second in the board race and also anchored the Red Beach board relay and super lifesaver teams to wins as his club took out the overall points title with comparative ease. Red Beach finished the two-day carnival, which featured surf boat, IRB, canoe, craft and beach events, on 192 points, well clear of Mairangi Bay's 144 and visiting Bay of Plenty club Papamoa (129).
Maney's haul was matched by Papamoa's Natalie Peat, who won the open ironwoman and surf race crowns and swept the under-19 surf race, board rescue and tube rescue titles, the latter two with clubmate Kathryn Stewart.
The NRCs featured nearly 600 surf athletes from 17 clubs and doubled as round four of the Sonic Surf Race series, which will culminate this week in Mount Maunganui with a three-round eliminator for the top-10 ironmen and women.
The local Northland clubs didn't go home empty-handed either, with Ruakaka's Rory Taylor taking out the open men's beach flags, with the 22-year-old edging out Alex Rippon (Piha) and Bjorn Battaerd (Whangamata) in the final.
Red Beach dominated the under-16 girls arena, particularly young stars Kelsi Boocock and Hannah Williams, while Whangamata's Madi Kidd collected an impressive treble by winning the under-19 and open women's beach sprint titles and taking the under-16 beach flags out for good measure.
With just three weeks until the national championships in Mount Maunganui, Red Beach coach Vaughan Skiffington is impressed with how his troops are faring.
"We've worked hard on retaining our under-16 members, no matter if they are amazing competitors or not," Skiffington said. "If we keep these groups together, then they have a good time which encouraged them to turn up to training. The nationals is all about winning the teams events, making sure you get - what we call - the big fat five pointers."
This week the focus will turn quickly to the Oceans 13 under-14 New Zealand championships in Mount Maunganui, where Red Beach are also the defending champions, as well as the Sonic Series finale at the same venue.