The 2018 New Zealand Surf Boat Series has officially wrapped up and series champions crowned after four gruelling rounds, culminating at Waihi Beach last weekend that saw 20 crews take part.
It was a close battle for the Open Men's title with 14 crews entered into the category throughout the series but it was the North Beach Beavers who wrapped the title up by a mere two points over the Muriwai Moonshine and Piha A crews who both finished on 54 points. The Mairangi Bay Merkins weren't far behind on 50 points.
Meanwhile, the Muriwai Meerkats managed to win the Open Women's class by six points over second-placed getters Red Beach Jedeyes after taking third place in the final at Waihi.
The Sunset Beach Young Guns managed to secure the Under-23 Men's category win despite not competing at Waihi Beach, with a similar story for the series-winning Under-23 Women's crew from Orewa who also didn't compete at the final round.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) Sport Manager Mike Lord says unfortunately the weather didn't come to the party for the fourth and final round of the series. As the surf was too large, only the Open Men's races could be run in three heats plus the final. The Open Women and Under 23 events went straight to finals and weren't counted towards the overall series points.
Both Under-19 final races weren't contested at Waihi Beach however the titles were still decided and ultimately won by the Whangamata Motor Boaters in the Men's division by two points over the Sunset Hipsters. Similarly, in the Women's division, the Paekakariki Tui team took the national series title by two points over the North Beach Bullets.
Mr Lord says despite the conditions, it was a great season finale for the surf boat teams with people are already looking forward to next year's instalment.
"The racing by the surf boat crews this season was fantastic, as it always is, and it was great to watch. It was a successful series and I've already had people say they can't wait to do it all again next year."
"On behalf of the Surf Life Saving New Zealand sport team, I would also like to extend our congratulations to all the teams who won this season and thank everyone for taking part and making it such a great surf boat series," Mr Lord added.
The New Zealand Representative Surf Boat Challenge was also cancelled due to the conditions and formats of racing so the Champion of Champion's event was brought forward to Sunday morning with a mixture of crews taking part.
Considered the ultimate challenge in surf boat racing, the title was won by Muriwai followed by Orewa in second and North Beach in third.
Next week will see four New Zealand crews travelling to Australia for the Trans-Tasman Surf Boat Challenge which will take place on February 17 at Elouera Beach in New South Wales as part of the ASRL Open.
The Trans-Tasman Surf Boat Challenge consists of a three race series for the men's crews and same for the women's with combined points accumulating to a champion nation that will be presented with the Trans-Tasman Surf Boat Challenge trophy.
Mr Lord wished the four crews the best of luck for the event. "The Australians are always fierce competitors but we know we have the best possible teams entered."
The next major event on the SLSNZ sport calendar is the BP North Island IRB Championships this weekend in Waipu Cove, followed by the New Zealand Under 14 Surf Life Saving Championships (Oceans '18) at Orewa Beach from 1-4 March.
Phone: 027 515 7157
Or: Mike Lord , Surf Life Saving New Zealand Sport Manager
Phone: 027 457 1025