For the first time in Gisborne's history, the Surf Life Saving New Zealand Gisborne Senior Championships and Gisborne Junior Championships will be held over Waitangi weekend as back-to-back events.
The Gisborne Junior Championships will kick off the long weekend at 5:30pm today at Midway Surf Club with the sprint, beach flags and rescue events with further events leading into Saturday morning. With 183 young Surf Lifeguards entered, the event is set to be the biggest one yet.
The three town clubs Waikanae, Midway and Wainui will battle it out for club supremacy after last year saw Waikanae reigning supreme with Wainui taking second by only one point.
On Saturday afternoon, the attention will turn to the senior athletes for the Gisborne Senior Championships as they battle it out for the prestigious Ralph Morse Shield.
Last year, Waikanae also took out the Gisborne Senior Championships, putting a stop to Midway's 16 year winning streak so Surf Life Saving New Zealand Gisborne Club Support Manager Renee Wikaire says Midway will be coming out of the gates with a strong contingent to try and win back the shield.
Racing will start with the large craft event from 2pm followed by canoe and double ski events later in the afternoon.
The remaining events will run from 8am on Sunday including the 2km beach run, rescue events and sprints and conclude in the afternoon with the pinnacle surf lifesaving events; the Ironman and Taplin races.
Ms Wikaire says she's excited to see the high quality racing that will be on offer at both of the local championship events this year.
"It's been amazing to see the growth of Junior Surf in the area and with 183 entries this year, that's a true testament to the hard work of all the local clubs. In the senior ranks, there is a lot of hype amongst the clubs and there are a number of athletes that haven't competed for years coming back to compete, showing that there is a lot at stake as clubs vie to win the prestigious Ralph Morse shield," she says.
Both Midway and Waikanae have top athletes that will be competing for them this weekend; some of the stars include Junior Black Fins Jamie Gedye (Waikanae) and Olivia Corrin (Midway) and New Zealand representative athletes Casie Fyall (Waikanae) and Matt Scott (Midway).
Ms Wikaire says with a jam-packed weekend of events, surf lifesaving will be the talk of the town and with free spectator entry, locals are encouraged to get along to Midway Surf Life Saving Club to catch some of the action as the clubs battle it out for top honours.
Lisa Smith, Media & Communications Manager,
ph 0276 488 823 or
Renee Wikaire, Gisborne Club Support Manager, ph 027 963 9189