Athletes power through changing conditions at Surf nationals

Saturday, 19 March 2016

New Zealand's top surf athletes battled windy conditions during the third day of competition at the 2016 Eastern Bay Energy Trust Surf Life Saving Championships held in Whakatane today.

Around 1,300 competitors took part in events both in and out of the water and with the increasing swell and higher winds, it was a difficult day for many teams.

With just the canoe results to be confirmed, Mt Maunganui Lifeguard Service have managed to extend their lead in the overall club championship across today's wide variety of events while Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club maintained their second place. Third place changed during the day with Fitzroy and Mairangi Bay Surf Life Saving Club's now sitting in third equal, while Piha, Omanu and Wainui are close behind.

Event manager, Prue Younger said: "Overall, it was another hugely successful day at the Eastern Bay Energy Trust New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championship. Despite the wind coming up a bit throughout the day, we didn't have to change the programme or locations of our events which meant everything ran smoothly.

"In fact, the event has ran smoothly over the past three days because of the dozens of volunteers and race officials who have worked tirelessly out there to keep everyone safe and happy. We certainly couldn't do this without their hard work and support."

Today's events included the board rescue, board relay, beach sprint and short-course canoe races and Younger added today saw an increase of spectators, families and friends which was an added bonus for the athletes.

Some of the toughest events are scheduled for tomorrow's final day and also sees the announcement for the New Zealand High Performance squads and Sanyo Cup team who will travel to Japan to represent the country later this year.

The annual nationwide event, dubbed Surf Nationals, has run for over 100 years and is a integral part of surf lifesaving in New Zealand.

The final day of Surf Nationals 2016 will take place Ohope Beach tomorrow from 8am and will continue until approximately 3.00pm. Spectator entry to the event is free and there are plenty of food, drink and clothing options available for purchase on-site.

Click here for race-by-race results and click here to view more photos.