New Zealand team runners up at International Surf Rescue Challenge

Thursday, 3 October 2019

The Black Fins and Junior Black fins teams have finished second behind strong Australian teams at the International Surf Rescue Challenge held in Durban, South Africa over the weekend.

The event pitted the New Zealand teams against the best Open and Youth (under 19) Surf Life Saving competitors from Australia, South Africa, USA, Japan and Spain in 13 different disciplines across three separate event days.

In tough and changeable conditions New Zealand athletes put in a number of outstanding individual and team performances to earn a swag of gold medals. Ultimately it wasn’t enough to catch the Australians who edged out the Kiwi teams to take home the ISRC Trophy, the Tri-Nations Trophy and the Trans-Tasman Trophy.

In the Open division there were notable performances from 2018 World Champion Beach Sprinter, Olivia Eaton, taking home 3 golds and 5 silvers across the sprint, flags and relay sand events.

Danielle McKenzie was another top performer grabbing gold medals in the Board Race, Surf Ski (2), Beach Relay (2) and Tube Rescue.

She also paired up with fellow Mairangi Bay club-mate Mike Lee to take a clean-sweep of 3 from 3 wins in the Mixed Ski relay.

Not to be out-done the men’s duo of Cory Taylor and Scott Cowdry picked up two golds and a silver in the Board Rescue, while Taylor and Max Beattie collected two silver and bronze medals respectively in the Ironman races.

Black Fins coach Matt Cairns was proud of his team’s efforts.

“This team has performed incredibly well, they have battled the conditions and the competition and really delivered some great results across the three tests.

“There is an immense amount of talent in the team, and there is also room for improvement. We’ve got things we can work on and improve but ultimately it was a great event.”

The Juniors had similar success with female beach sprinters taking home three gold medals in the relay event while the male’s also swept the tube rescue disciple.

First timer Astaria Teaukura hauled in 6 golds across the three days while team Vice-Captain Joe Collins topped the medal tally with 13 (8 teams & 5 individual).  

Juniors head Coach, Zac Franich heaped praise on his young team.

“There are a lot of future Black Fins in this team. The best part of this is that they’re just getting started, for a lot of them this is their first real international competition so they’ll take a lot of experience from it.”

The event is a critical stepping stone in the journey towards to Life Saving World Championships in Italy in just under a year’s time.

The New Zealand teams now return to their home bases ready to build on their performances over the coming summer.

OVERALL POINTS TABLE (Test 1, Test 2, Test 3)


Australia 311 (116, 73, 122)

New Zealand 285 (105, 72, 108)

South Africa 219 (75, 59, 85)

USA 161 (57, 40, 64)

Japan 124 (46, 35, 43)

Spain 114 (40, 34, 40)



Australia 273 (90, 77, 106)

New Zealand 228 (82, 64, 82)

South Africa 167 (75, 56, 74)

USA 98 (36, 26, 36)

Spain 82 (28, 24, 30)


About the International Surf Rescue Challenge

The competition started in 1999 as a trans-Tasman rivalry between Australia and New Zealand before expanding to include South Africa in a Tri-Nations format.

In recent years the competition has grown to include teams from Canada, Germany, France, Great Britain, Spain, Japan and the USA, with every nation encouraged to send an open and a youth/development team.

This year South Africa, Australia and New Zealand competed with athletes from Japan, Spain and the USA. There were 23 events incorporating a mix of individual and team races.

Test 1: Saturday 28th September

Test 2: Sunday 29th September

Test 3: Tuesday 1st October


About the Black Fins and the Junior Black Fins

The Black Fins and the Junior Black Fins are New Zealand’s national surf lifesaving teams.

Team member names and Surf Life Saving NZ clubs

Black Fins (Open)

Cory Taylor – Midway (Captain)

Carina Doyle - St Clair

Danielle McKenzie - Mairangi Bay

Devon Halligan - Omanu

Lochlainn O'Connor - Mt Maungaui

Max Beattie - Omanu

Mike Lee - Mairangi Bay

Murdoch Finch - Omanu

Natalie Peat - Papamoa

Olivia Corrin - Midway

Olivia Eaton - Mt Maungaui

Scott Cowdrey - Papamoa


Juniors (U19)

Claudia Kelly - East End (Captain)

Astaria Teaukura - Mairangi Bay

Atakura Julian - Otaki

Briana Irving - Waikanae

Christy Tate - Waikanae

Fletcher Moles - East End

Georgie Pitkethley - Waikanae

Joe Collins - Fitzroy

Lachie Falloon - Waikanae

Louis Clark - Taylors Mistake

Sasha Reid - Fitzroy

Seven Mapu - Waikanae


For more information please contact:

Lewis McClintock

National Sport Manager

Surf Life Saving NZ

027 239 5622