The Mairangi Bay Delta Squad has managed to take their third consecutive IRB Long Haul title after almost four hours of intense racing around the Bay of Plenty over the weekend.
Starting at Ohope Beach in Whakatane, the crews competed in five different physically and mentally demanding challenges along the 95 kilometre stretch of coastline to the finishing point at Papamoa Beach where the Mairangi Bay team beat 13 other teams for the win, with both second and third placed getters finishing within four minutes of the top crew.
Finishing in second place was the Opotiki MGS open crew, who beat the mixed Whakatane MRW team by around 30 seconds, showing the competitiveness of the competition despite the large distance of the race.
For the Opotiki and Whakatane teams, their podium places are even more impressive considering they were both competing in the IRB Long Haul race for the first time, which Surf Life Saving Eastern Region Sport manager, Mark Inglis says is an "incredible achievement".
Mr Inglis also said "The IRB Long Haul race was another successful event for Surf Life Saving New Zealand and it was fantastic to see the results were so close at the end. It is a huge challenge for all the teams to even finish so a huge congratulations to everyone who took part.
The Whakatane MRW crew also finished as the top mixed crew, followed by Waipu Cove and Whakatane JRM in second and third respectively.
Topping the Under-22 category was Papamoa Surely team, who also finished in fourth overall. Piha B finished the category in second, while Mairangi Bay JJJ finished the Under-22 category in third.
Mr Inglis also complemented the skill and professionalism of the competitors who took part, saying it is a lot of hard work to even complete the near 100-kilometre race.
"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. We couldn't have asked for a better day," he said.
The IRB Long Haul event marks the final sport event of the season, and with the Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) patrol season also finished, focus now shifts to the awards season where lifeguards are celebrated for their achievements in both lifeguarding and sport.
Results: Accumulated time difference
1. Open - Mairangi Bay Delta Squad - 0:01:16
2. Open - Opotiki MGS - 0:04:24
3. Mixed - Whakatane MRW - 0:04:56
4. U22 - Papamoa Surely - 0:07:18
5. U22 - Piha B - 0:13:39
6. Mixed - Waipu Cove - 0:14:20
7. U22 - Mairangi Bay JJJ - 0:15:15
8. U22 - Papamoa Pleasant Parker's - 0:16:53
9. Open - Mairangi Bay PapaDeltaHotel - 0:18:59
10. Mixed - Whakatane JRM - 0:22:16
11. Mixed - Piha MMS - 0:26:04
12. Open - Whakatane SKF - 0:29:20
13. Mixed - Piha HTV - 0:34:24
Alana McIsaac, Media & Communications Manager
Phone 027 515 7157