Just under 600 athletes are geared up and ready to race this weekend at the annual Whangamata Classic.
Jointly hosted by Surf Life Saving Northern Region and SLSNZ Eastern Region, the carnival is always a highly anticipated event on the season's calendar.
Events include beach flags, sprints, board, ski, iron/diamond, taplin, surf race, surf boats and canoes.
Some of surf lifesaving's big names including Chanel Hickman, Jake Hurley and Teneale Hatton will be taking part alongside fellow High Performance athletes Adam Simpson, Andrew Newton, Olivia Eaton, Maddison Kidd, Rebecca Cole, Olivia Corrin, Javon McCallum, Ryan Gilmour, Perry Farrell, Ella Drinnan and Mitch Cowdrey.
Surf Life Saving Northern Region Sport Manager Simone Spencer says one of the athletes to watch out for this year is Magali Rousseau. She represented France at the 2008 Olympics and has also set world records in the 200m Super Lifesaver and 100m Manikin Carry with Fins, as well as setting four world record titles at the 2014 Lifesaving World Championships.
"She is over in New Zealand, training to try and better her ocean swimming and board paddling, so it will be great to see her out on the water and to have some international competition in the mix," she says.
While entry numbers are slightly down on last year because of fewer surf boats and canoes, Ms Spencer says there is a huge field of entrants in the Under 16 and Under 19 category.
Last year saw Mt Maunganui finish on top of the club points table followed by Red Beach, Piha, Orewa and Papamoa to round out the top five.
"This year the title could be anyone's, depending on the conditions and how their athletes race on the day, and that's one of the reasons the event is so exciting," she says.
The first events start at 9am with the beach events running concurrently with water events across the day.
For more information about the Whangamata Classic, click here.
Lisa Smith, Media & Communications Specialist,
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823