The Titahi Bay men's team has been selected to represent New Zealand and compete in Australia at the Australian Surf Rowers League near Sydney later this year, after battling brutal conditions at the Whangamata Surf Boat Spectacular today.
The team was selected by a panel of judges, who evaluate each team based on various criteria including speed, team-work and consistency, during two events held at Wellington (28-29 November, Lyall Bay) and Whangamata (2 January).
With a stormy front moving over the region during the day, teams had to row through two meter swells while enduring consistent rain, making the event even tougher.
Jono Boyd of the Titahi Bay team, said: "It is a massive honour to represent our country but we know we have a lot of work ahead of us. Fortunately we've done quite a bit of racing in Aussie [Australia] as a crew so hopefully that will help us."
A New Zealand Women's team will also be selected but the decision has been deferred, pending further judging, and will be announced in the coming weeks.
In addition to the open teams, two development teams consisting of athletes under 23 years of age, from Titahi Bay (women's) and Whangamata (men's) have been selected to head to Australia as Surf Life Saving New Zealand aims to promote younger athletes in competition.
Team selector, Clayton Kellett, said: "It was incredibly difficult to select the New Zealand representatives this year because the calibre of the teams was so high. While we wish we could take all of the teams, we're sure the crews we've chosen will do New Zealand proud."
The team of vastly experienced selectors are well known in the sport and most have previously competed so know exactly what it takes to be a winning team in Australia.
Surf boat racing teams are made up of four rowers and one sweep [who controls the boat by use of a sweep oar and commands to the rowers].
All of the successful teams are now rushing to fundraise money for the trip which takes place in Shellharbour in New South Wales on February 19-21. The remainder of the teams now shift their focus to the next New Zealand Surf Boat Series round in Waihi on February 6-7.
New Zealand Teams
New Zealand Men's: Titahi Bay
• Jono Boyd
• Brett Hamer
• Jordan Tyrrell
• Chris Middleton
• Will McDowell
New Zealand Women's: TBC
New Zealand Men's Development (U23): Whangamata
• Sam Stockley
• Lyndon Vickers
• Josh Kerridge
• Brandon Dromgool
• Andrew Jujnovich (sweep)
New Zealand Women's Development (U23): Titahi Bay
• Georgia McLaren
• Kathryn Kinvig
• Tessa McPherson
• Tracey Mills
• Tim Marsden (sweep)