NZ crews race hard at major surf boat competition

Monday, 10 February 2014

The Aussies prevailed over the Kiwis at the Trans-Tasman Surf Boat Challenge (ASRL Open) in New South Wales over the weekend but that hasn't dampened the two crews' spirit.

The men's crew, represented by Titahi Bay and the women's crew, represented by Red Beach proudly put on their black vests of New Zealand on Saturday and gave the Aussies a good run for their money, says New Zealand Team Manager Clayton Kellett.

The 'Battle of the Ditch', a three race series between Australia and New Zealand, was held on Saturday with Australia finishing 3-0 in both the men's and women's tests.

Mr Kellett says in the first two races, the Aussies got a great start in both the men's and women's races. "The Kiwi crews stuck with the Aussies through the races but couldn't quite peg them back.  There were only a couple of boat lengths in the men's races and the women's races were only separated by one or two waves," he says.

Mr Kellett says he has a great sense of pride in the way both of the Kiwi crews conducted themselves on and off of the water. He's especially happy with the way the team stood arm-in-arm on the beach as a tight, united team, he says.

"We threw everything at the Australians with a team motto of 'treat this like your one and only opportunity to race for your country, throw everything you have into it and leave nothing on the water.' I am proud to say that's exactly what both crews did but the Australians just had it over us on the day. Our team put up a great fight and really enjoyed the experience and the chance to represent New Zealand," he says.

After a hard day of racing in the Trans-Tasman Challenge, both crews then had the chance to represent their own clubs on Sunday, taking on the rest of the top Australian crews in the final rounds of the ASRL Open. Mr Kellett says after emptying their tanks from a hard day of racing on Saturday, they had to leave the spoils for the Australians to scrap over.

The ASRL Open is one of the biggest surf boat rowing competitions of the season.

Each year, Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Surf Life Saving Australia select an open men's and open women's surf boat crew to represent each country in the Trans-Tasman Surf Boat Challenge. This test series' location is rotated between Australia and New Zealand each year. New Zealand will be the hosts in 2015.

The Titahi Bay men's crew earned the right to represent New Zealand after dominating the selection series at the second round of the NZ Surf Boat Series in Whangamata on January 2.  The crew of Nick Boyd, Jordan Te Paa, Dean Ellis, Jono Boyd and sweep Wil McDowell won the qualifying series over arch-rivals Piha.

The women's crew was represented by Red Beach SLSC whose crew is made up of Kelly Andrew, Zita Talaic-Burgess, Ashleigh Jenkins, Madison Smith and sweep Shane O'Halloran.

For more information, please contact:

Lisa Honeybone, Media & Communications Specialist, SLSNZ
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823