Written by Ian Stuart on behalf of St Clair SLSC
One of the oldest competitors in the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club's annual White Island race, is vowing he will be back again next as part of his 75th birthday celebrations.
St Clair life member, Bart Smaill, turned 74 in April and today paddled a single surf ski through a moderate surf at St Clair Beach, out 2.5km to White Island and back.
Smaill, who has competed in just about every one of the 46 White Island races, did not finish last and said he would be back again next year.
He said getting around the island staying on his ski as he fought the rough conditions to paddle through the 30 metre gap between the island and a rocky outcrop, was the hardest part of the 5km course.
Another masters entry, the Salty Dog canoe crew from St Clair with 236 birthdays between them, performed exceptionally well and was third home, one minute behind the winning St Clair canoe and one second behind the second-placed South Brighton crew.
The St Clair Salty Dog crew of Graeme Newton, 61, Peter Haselmore, 59, Greg Page, 59, and Murray Turner, 57, led the field until half through the return leg. They were beaten by the winning crew by one minute and by the second placed crew by one second. The four paddlers in the first and second crews were all under 27.
The race attracted more than 70 entries, the largest field in its 46-year history.
Jordan Family Trophy (first board paddler): Andrew Newton, Mt Maunganui, 39min 35sec; White Island Shield (fastest time): Zac and Ryan Quickenden, South Brighton, double ski, 24m 26s; Darcy Christopher Trophy (first canoe) : Marlow Pies single hull, St Clair (Cam Burrows, Logan Garforth, Luke Munro, Michael Crombie) 33m 13s; Duke Gillies Paddle, sealed handicap: Marlow Pies canoe, St Clair; first swimmer: Michael Gray, St Clair, 1hr 30min; Hayden Surf Craft handicap: Lucy Johnson, Sumner, open, Danielle Currie, South Brighton, under 19; First single ski, Sam Shergold, Mt Maunganui, 26m 54s.