A bit of Aussie polish and slickness was too much for New Zealand's top surf boat crews at the trans-Tasman Trophy in Waihi Beach today.
Representative crews from Bulli (men) and Tugun (women) gave a rowing masterclass in gentle half-metre waves, overpowering Piha and Red Beach respectively to win the test series 6-0.
To add further misery to locals, the two Australian crews also dominated the open finals at the North Island championship, held in conjunction, and Tugun's Sascha Lahey admitted the day couldn't have gone any better for them.
"We're pretty stoked - we had five races and won all five but we had to work very, very hard," Lahey, the sister of champion surf swimmer Dev, said. "The Red Beach girls definitely gave us a run for our money today. They've just improved out of sight since we raced them last year and we were a bit taken aback by the that."
Although several races were only decided in the last few metres, the Australians' strength around the turning cans and in the back half of races saw them through each time.
It was the second year Red Beach had represented New Zealand and they were delighted with their progress.
"We've made a lot of improvements from last year and worked on our starts and were able to keep up with them and put them under a bit of pressure," Zita Talaic-Burgess said. "The calibre of racing over there is pretty high so we're happy to at least match them today. We're holding our heads high."
It was similar in the men's racing too, where the experienced Bulli crew proved too canny for Piha.
"We came into this event feeling a lot of pressure and to get the first two races under our belt really eased it a lot and meant we could enjoy ourselves a lot more," Bulli's Heath Mercer said.
Adding further misery to Piha's day was being beaten into third by Mairangi Bay in the final of the North Island championships.
Hosts Waihi Beach performed well in the agegroup divisions, winning the under-23 men's final and finishing second behind neighbours Whangamata in the under-19s, while Orewa and Muriwai won the respective women's agegroup finals.
Results from the North Island surf boat championships and the trans-Tasman Challenge at Waihi Beach:
Open: Australia (Bulli - Dean Roberts, Heath Mercer, Benjamin Lowe, Adam Barlow, Shane Geloven) 1 Mairangi Bay (Tim Cameron, Scott Eagle, Adam Jackson, Nick Laurie, Terrance Burbidge) 2, Piha (Mark Bourneville, Paul Gerritsen, Ben Richards, Ben Scott, Jean-Paul Smit) 3.
Under-23: Waihi Beach (David Grant, Jack Kingsford, Luke Kingsford, Morgan Slogg, Joshus Foster) 1, Red Beach (Max Anstis, Ryan Davenport, Rhye Jacka, Luke Tomlinson, Kyle Lennon, Shane (Bugsy) O'Halloran) 2, Rarangi (Michael Boon, Matt Jackson, Joseph Leper, Keagen John Saul, Neil Watts) 3.
Under-19: Whangamata (Brandan Dromgool, Josh Kerridge, Sam Stockley, Lyndon Vickers, Andrew Jujnovich) 1, Waihi Beach (Marc Everson, Matthew Hart, Tate Van Duyvenbooden, Nicholas Wagstaff, Jack Kingsford) 2, Red Beach (Callum Blackburn, Alexander Cassidy, Tamati Munroe, Oliver Parris-Piper, Jackson Smith, Mike Smith) 3.
Open: Australia (Tugan - Genevieve Bassingthwaighte, Marianne Bassingthwaighte, Lisa Webber, Sascha Lahey, Bruce Zillman) 1, Red Beach SLSC Sirens (Kelly Andrew, Katrina Gouldstone, Ashleigh Jenkins, Madison Smith, Zita Talaic-Burgess, Shane (Bugsy) O'Halloran0029 2, Muriwai LS Cats (Anamaria Clarke, Alison Craigie, Ellie David, Jessica Parkin, Sophie Rowland, Ricky Butt) 3.
Under-23: Orewa (Sasha Ballantyne, Hannah Everitt, Rachel Hellesoe, Alysha Nesbit, Danielle Shrubsall, Mark McCarthny) 1, Muriwai (Sara Eivers, Andrea Gerrard, Billie-Lee Haresnape, Ashley Timoko, Emma Wilson, Chris Deacon) 2, Titahi Bay (Grace Goodall, Anna Hermansson, Georgia McLaren, Tessa McPherson, Tim Marsden) 3.
Under-19: Muriwai (Danielle Ford, Emily Hortop, Grace Joseph, Lucy Kelly, Chris Deacon) 1, Red Beach (Jessica Cornish, Georgia Cox, Tyler McDowall, Briana Smith, Craig Dillon) 2, Titahi Bay (CJ Sinead Clark, Jessica Cleland, Suzy Ellis, Tracey Mills, Brett Hamer) 3.
Points: Red Beach 10, Muriwai 9, Waihi Beach 8, Orewa 5, Whangamata 5, Mairangi Bay 3, Titahi Bay 2, Rarangi 1, Piha 1.
The Red Beach women's crew head back into Waihi Beach during the trans-Tasman test series today. Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services