Two local teams have dominated the 2018 Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) Central Regional Championships (CRCs) held in New Plymouth over the weekend.
While the hosts, Fitzroy, came away with the overall event win on 121 points, they did so by only two points over East End who scored 119 points, making it a Taranaki one-two by a large margin over their competitors.
Last year's champions from Ocean Beach Kiwi rounded out the podium with 52 points ahead of fourth placed getters Paekakariki on 40 points, which also shows the breadth of talent amongst lifeguards in the entire Central Region from Taranaki, to Hawkes Bay and south to Wellington.
While the leading teams had a large number of competitors, they put on a convincing performance in conditions they are used to as locals.
CRCs event manager Richard Whinham said, "It was a great day of racing on a beautiful sunny Taranaki day with a nice wave rolling in. The conditions were testing at times and really showed the amazing skills of our lifeguards."
"It was also fantastic to have the New Zealand Surf Boat Series included in the event and it certainly gave the boaties a different part of the country to go racing in," he added.
The four-round New Zealand Surf Boat Series held its penultimate round at Fitzroy Beach alongside the CRCs competition which Whinham said was "the first time any major surf boat event has been held in Taranaki since 2006."
It was a good weekend for the Titahi Bay Under 23 Men's Surf Boat team who were selected to represent New Zealand in next month's Trans-Tasman Challenge, due to the withdrawal of the Whangamata Barry's due to personal reasons.
"Congratulations to the Titahi Bay Under 23 Men's Surf Boat team on their selection this weekend," said Whinham. "We all enjoyed watching them over the weekend and can't wait to see them represent the Central Region as part of the New Zealand team in Australia."
The next major event for many of the CRCs competitors is the TSB New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships, often dubbed 'nationals', held in Gisborne from March 15-18.
Central Regional Championships - overall
East End 119
Ocean Beach Kiwi 52
Titahi Bay 32
North Beach 6
Sunset Beach 6
Palmerston North 5
Red Beach 3
Lyall Bay 2
Waihi Beach 1
Mairangi Bay 1
Titahi Bay Under 23 Men's Surf Boat Team
Phone: 027 515 7157
Or: Richard Whinham
Central Region Championships Event Manager