Top New Zealand ironwoman Maddie Boon will launch her surf lifesaving season this weekend under a different type of steam than usual.
Instead of paddle power or swimming prowess, the 23-year-old will be blasting across Omaha Beach in front of an 30hp mercury outboard engine, competing at the Northern Region IRB carnival.
It's a big step into the unknown for Boon, a past winner of the New Zealand board race and run-swim-run titles and double runner-up in the ironwoman championship, now working for KPMG in Auckland.
"I seem to be working all day at the moment and studying all night so it's been quite nice to get to Saturday afternoon and go crazy out in a boat," Boon said. "I'm studying to be a Chartered Accountant and just needed to do something different - the training for IRB isn't as time-consuming as ironwoman training, plus I've been having a whole lot of fun doing it too."
Boon will crew for driver Katherine Reardon, with the pair linking with Muriwai this season to train with IRB stalwart Andrew Lancaster. Reardon won a North Island title competing for United North Piha a year ago and will be leaning on Boon's famed competitive spirit to take them places this season.
"Katherine and I both did a Surf Life Saving Northern Region leadership camp this year, which involved a 13hr tramp in the Tongariro National Park, and that was where she first brought up the idea of us competing together. I was planning on having a season off ironwoman this year but this is a great way to stay involved and still get some fun racing."
Saturday's carnival will feature crews from Raglan, Sunset Beach, United North Piha and Muriwai, as well as hosts Omaha, where there is even a rare East Coast wave predicted after weeks of calm surf.
A number of quality crews should feature, with Sunset Beach pair Sam Dwen and Shane Edwards consistent performers on the national circuit in recent years, while Raglan's Caroline Cave is also an accomplished driver.
The carnival starts 10am, with a three-round series of mixed teams.
Click here for more details around the Northern Region IRB carnival.
Article and photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services