After four hours of racing, it came down to two seconds to decide the winner of the 2016 Bay of Plenty IRB Long Haul on Saturday.
Mairangi Bay Surf Life Saving Club took first place over Red Beach with Papamoa A taking out third.
Eleven teams were tested with physically and mentally demanding challenges along the 95km stretch of coastline from Ohope Beach to Mount Maunganui in the Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) challenge that tests Surf Lifeguards' ability to respond to a callout or rescue by quickly setting up the IRB and heading out onto the water.
This year, the race format was changed to a stage race to allow for closer racing. It was set over five stages (Matata, Pukehina, Papamoa, Omanu and Mt Maunganui), where all teams started together and raced side-by-side to the next destination where they completed the stage challenge.
Crews had 10 minutes to recover before the next mass start set them on their way to the next stage.
Surf Life saving New Zealand Sport Manager Mark Inglis says it was a great day of high speed, adrenaline-filled racing.
"A lot of the details around the challenges, and the race itself, were withheld from the competitors until race day to add to the challenge and the teams handled it very well. It was an awesome day of racing along the beautiful Bay of Plenty coastline," he says.
Visit the SLSNZ Eastern Region Facebook page to view photos and videos.
Results: Accumulated time difference over the five stages
Mairangi Bay 4:22
Red Beach 4:24
Papamoa A team 9:07
Papamoa BBB team 12:31 (U21 category)
Mt Maunganui B 18:11
Mt Maunganui A 30:38
Papamoa C Nug 36:04 (U21 category)
Omanu Young Bucks 44:08 (U21 category)
Lisa Smith, Media & Communications Specialist,
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823