Waitangi Weekend saw a strong field of more than 50 surf boat teams from around New Zealand take part in the North Island Surf Boat Championships hosted by Waihi Beach Lifeguard Services.
The event has been hosted at Waihi Beach for 23 years and celebrates the history of rescuing patients from the surf in the big old boats which were the only form of rescue boat available until 1959.
Natalie Lloyd is the club’s Director of Sport and says it takes courage, great strength and skill to navigate these giant boats through the surf and return home.
“Waihi Beach produced great surf, great conditions and great racing and saw more than 1000 people on the beach competing, supporting or watching these magnificent craft.”
Titahi Bay were the dominant club on day one, taking out the Open Men, Open Women, U19 Men and Masters Men titles.
While the results on the water were a positive, Titahi Bay Team Manager Brett Hamer says the rowing took somewhat of a back seat as they remembered three club mates who died while travelling to the Waihi event 20 years ago.
“Damien Cross, Mathew Ireland and Sam Delaney were all rowers in our junior crew at the time. It was nice to have the club and extended families of the boys gather on the Beach early on Saturday morning to not only remember them but also celebrate their lasting contribution to our club.”
He says many of the club’s current crews are made up of people who were around at the time and continue the strong family values within the Titahi Bay Surf Life Saving Club.
The event also proved to be a great final hit-out for the four crews set to represent New Zealand at the annual Trans-Tasman Surf Boat Challenge this Saturday at Mollymook Beach, NSW.
Titahi Bay Open women cleaned up in their division, while Open Men’s crew Muriwai Moonshine were pipped in the final by a fast finishing Titahi Bay.
In the under 23 division female the Orewa Amazons had a tough day at the office finishing fourth while the Whangamata Motorboaters took out the under 23 men’s title.
Whangamata continued their great form into the second day of racing, winning the knock-out style Dan Harris Champion of Champions event.
The races celebrate one of Waihi Beach Lifeguard Services lifetime members, Dan Harris.
“Dan dedicated his life to surf lifesaving, surf boat rowing and the Waihi Beach club, for which he received a Queen’s Service Medal.
“Dan created the North Island Surf Boat Championships and the Champion of Champions event 23 years ago,” Natalie says.
The Whangamata team is made up of Taine Wilson and Zane Sweetman, both 20, Josh Nicholas and Sergio Schuler, both 19, and their sweep Steve Pipe, 64.
Steve, who is an active Surf Lifeguard, says winning the Champion of Champions competition at Waihi was very humbling.
“Dan Harris’ legacy of this event has contributed immeasurably to the New Zealand surfboat culture.
“Hopefully the Motorboaters demonstrated appropriate spirit and respect to Dan and previous winners, especially Titahi Bay Open Men who were travelling home so not racing. Respect always to this club for their enduring culture and always making a big effort to get to this competition.”
The New Zealand crews fly to Sydney today (February 12) to begin preparations for the Trans-Tasman event.
Photos: Shifting Light Photography
North Island Surf Boat Championships
Waihi Beach, 8th February 2020
Surf Boat Series. Titahi Bay (Yeah) Nah 1, Muriwai Moonshine 2, Whangamata Barrys 3, Piha Priapists 4, Mairangi Bay Merkins 5, Orewa Thunder Bucks 6
Surf Boat Series. Titahi Bay Wils A Crew 1, Piha Porches 2, Muriwai Meerkats 3, Orewa Gems 4, Orewa Orewa N Sync 5, Orewa N Sync 6
Under 23 Men:
Surf Boat Series. Whangamata Motorboaters 1, Orewa Vikings 2, Sunset Beach 3, Bethells BLTs 4
Surf Boat Series. Piha Piranhas 1, Paekakariki Magpies 2, New Brighton Baybees 3, Piha Pingerz 4, Orewa Amazons 5, Waimairi 6
Surf Boat Series. Titahi Bay Submarines 1, Paekakariki Showtime 2, Titahi Bay Sightseers 3
Surf Boat Series. New Brighton Barbees 1, Piha Piranhas 2,Titahi Bay Rookies 3, Paekakariki Poppys 4, Bethells Beach Sea Gals, 5, Orewa Baby Gems 6, Paekakariki X 7
Surf Boat Series. Titahi Bay Eye Candy 1, Fitzroy Floggers 2, Westshore 3, Orewa Ogres 4, East End Tui 5
Surf Boat Series. Bethells Beach Old Beaches 1, Waihi Beach Boatie Chicks 2, Orewa Oarfishes 3
Dan Harris Champion Of Champions
Waihi Beach, 9th February 2020
Whangamata Motorboaters 1, Orewa Thunder Bucks 2, Lyall Bay Low Tide 3, Muriwai Moonshine 4, Paekakariki Showtime 5, Sunset Beach 6, Titahi Bay Wils A Crew 7
Orewa Vikings 1, Whakatane 2, Lyall Bay Rowbots 3, Titahi Bay Submarines 4, Paekakariki Magpies 5, New Brighton Barbees 6, Orewa Amazons 7
Muriwai Meerkats 1, New Brighton Baybees 2, Waimairi 3, Lyall Bay Ponies 4, Paekakariki Milkshakes 5
Orewa N Sync 1, Orewa Baby Gems 2, Westshore 3, Orewa Orphans 4, Waihi Beach Masters 5
For more information please contact:
Media and Communications Manager
Surf Life Saving NZ
021 757 433