The Red Beach Sirens are feeling relaxed heading into the fourth and final round of the New Zealand Surf Boat Series this weekend.
The Open Women's crew, consisting of Zita Talaic-Burgess, Kelly Andrew, Katrina Gouldstone, Ashleigh Jenkins, Madison Smith and sweep Shane (Bugsy) O'Halloran, are standing on 60 points after the first three rounds of the series.
The first round was the Wellington Super Surf Boat Event in November followed by the Whangamata Classic in January. The Red Beach Sirens were beaten narrowly by the Australian crew from Tugan in the third round earlier this month, the North Island Surf Boat Championships in Waihi, which also doubled as the Trans-Tasman test.
Zita says the Sirens are excited in the lead-up to the Piha Big Wave "Day of Giants" which kicks-off at 9am on Saturday.
"Having won three from three rounds of the series (excluding the Aussies at North Island Champs) and having secured the series, we can go into this round without the pressure of needing to win or place well, she says.
"We can concentrate on our technique and strength rowing out and catching waves coming home. We expect there to be the normal strong and sizeable Piha wave and we're looking forward to the challenge of big surf, as a good lead into heading to Gisborne for Nationals."
The Muriwai Cats are in second place in the Open Women's division with 52 points followed by North Beach Black Betty on 42 points.
With so much up for grabs, racing in the Open Men's division will be tight as the crews head into this final round, neck-and-neck on points.
The Omanu Crackins are sitting in the lead with 40 points, followed by the Orewa Thunder and Piha A who are tied for second on 38 points.
Mark Bourneville's Piha crew of Paul Gerritsen, Ben Richards, Ben Scott and Jean-Paul Smit will have a home advantage but, as anyone who has watched surf bout racing before will know, anything can and will happen on the day.
At the start of the event, a minute of silence will be held in honour of Piha club member Nicholas Mackenzie who sadly passed away earlier this month while holidaying in Japan.
Nicholas was not only an integral part of the club but he was also a sweep for his Princesses surf boat crew.
Lisa Honeybone, Media & Communications Specialist,
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823