Over 100 athletes are gearing up to tackle the New Zealand Representative Challenge on Monday, which sees Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) regions go head-to-head to claim the top honours for this national title.
This year, six regions are set to compete at the event set at Midway Beach thanks to Tairāwhiti-Gisborne and Eastland Community Trust and include Bay of Plenty, Coromandel, Capital Coast, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Taranaki.
The competition is spread across 28 different events including the beach relay, beach flags, ski race, board race, canoe race and Inflatable Rescue Boats (IRB) races.
Mixed amongst the regional teams are nine SLSNZ High Performance athletes, from the current Youth Lifesaving World Champions – the Junior Black Fins, alongside the open Black Fins squad.
Olivia Corrin and Briana Irving, from the Black Fins and Junior Black Fins respectively, are two locals getting ready to tackle the challenge at home in what is only their second SLSNZ event after coming back from the Lifesaving World Championships in Adelaide.
Joining them is New Zealand Development Squad and Sanyo Cup competitor, Luther Maxwell from Capital Coast alongside previous Mount Monster winner Hamish Miller for Bay of Plenty.
Matt Warren, New Zealand Representative Challenge Event Manager said he’s expecting some really good racing thanks to the “great combination of good conditions, excellent athletes and friendly regional rivalry.”
Although he said “one of the teams to watch will definitely be the defending champions, Bay of Plenty. Although Gisborne also has a good shot with some solid athletes, and Taranaki could be a real dark horse too.”
“This is the first time Coromandel has put in a team and they have some really strong individuals, so you’ll have to watch them as well. Both Capital Coast and Hawkes Bay have relatively young teams but quite a few up-and-coming stars in the mix. So, basically, every team will have a chance,” he said.
Interestingly, the Bay of Plenty team also boasts two families within their ranks, which will undoubtedly add a bit of internal rivalry to finish first. The Cowdrey brothers Mitch, Scott and Jake make up one of the families, with the Reid’s from Whakatane also taking three siblings into the battle with Campbell, Carla and Kaitlin Reid.
“The weather and surf look to be shaping up for a good event, so I think it will be a battle of the fittest,” added Mr Warren.
Mr Warren also wanted to extend his thanks to generous partners who have helped bring the New Zealand Representative Challenge to Gisborne – Eastland Community Trust and Tairāwhiti-Gisborne, and to the hosts at Midway Surf Life Saving Club.
“The lead-up has been fantastic thanks to our partners and hosts, so a big thank you to them. We can’t wait to get racing now!”
The event officially kicks off at 8.10am on Monday before finishing later that same day. For more information about the event including the programme of events, click here.
Alana McIsaac, Media & Communications Manager
Phone 027 515 7157