Central Regional Championships and first round of Surf Boat Series equals an action packed weekend at Waimarama Beach

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Central Regional Championships 2019. Photos: John Dent

Surf Lifeguards are lining up this weekend to compete in a range of surf lifesaving sports.

On Saturday, January 11, 331 senior athletes from 19 clubs will take part in the 2020 Surf Life Saving New Zealand Central Regional Championships. On Sunday, January 12, 216 young people from 15 clubs will compete in the junior event.

The competitions will reveal the fastest, strongest and most skilled in disciplines such as iron-person events, beach sprints, beach flag races, and ski and board races.

Saturday will also feature the first round of the 2020 National Surf Boat Series with teams from as far away as Auckland and Christchurch attending.

The competitions are being held at Waimarama Beach, Hawke’s Bay, and are hosted by Waimarama Surf Life Saving Club.

The three events will make for a busy weekend of competition, Surf Life Saving Central Region Sport Manager Richard Whinham says.

“Having the first round of National Surf Boat Series as part of the Central Regional Championships will certainly make for a full-on day of competition, with lots to see.

“The athletes are really supportive of each other so there’s always a great atmosphere mixed in with some healthy competition.”

The national surf boat series competition attracts crews from around the North Island, with a club from Christchurch also booked to attend, Whinham says.

Photos: John Dent

This year the series has three rounds, with events also being held in Surf Life Saving’s Eastern and Northern regions.

Surf boats are oar-powered open wooden boats, which are predominantly used for sport purposes these days. They were made famous for rescuing people from the stranded Wahine in Wellington 52 years ago.

Teams must work perfectly in unison, with powerful oar strokes, to balance and steer the boats through rough waves together. This can result in spectacular displays as the boats hit walls of water and the crews brace themselves against what can seem like almost-vertical angles, producing semi-aerial displays as they push through the breaks.

The competition should offer some gripping viewing, and great displays of skill, Whinham says.

Many of the athletes taking part this weekend will be gearing up for SLSNZ’s upcoming national events.

“They’ll be in good form for the Central Regionals to ensure they’re ready for the TSB New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships in March.”

Photo: John Dent

He says the weekend is an ideal testing ground, with some athletes entering as many competitions as possible.

“There’s also hot competition for the kudos of taking home a Central Regional Championships title, or claiming top club.”

Competition starts at 8.30am on both days and will be held at Waimarama Surf Life Saving Club, 9 Moori Road, Waimarama Beach.

People are welcome to come along to watch and support the athletes.

Photo: John Dent

Last year East End Surf Life Saving Club won the Central Regional Championships.

The following clubs won the 2019 National Surf Boat Series:

  • Open Men - Orewa Makos
  • U23 Men - Whangamata Motorboaters
  • U19 Men - Orewa Dreamboats
  • Open Women - Piha Black Pearls
  • U23 Women - Orewa Sapphires
  • U19 Women - Waimairi
  • Masters Men - Fitzroy Floggers
  • Masters Women - Bethells Beach



  • Surf Life Saving New Zealand Central Regional Championships
  • National Surf Boat Series Round 1


  • Waimarama Surf Life Saving Club, 9 Moori Road, Waimarama Beach, Hawke’s Bay


January 11, 2020 from 8.30am

  • Surf Life Saving New Zealand Central Regional Championships – Seniors
  • National Surf Boat Series Round 1

January 12, 2020 from 8.30am

  • Surf Life Saving New Zealand Central Regional Championships – Juniors

For more information, please contact:

Richard Whinham
Central Region Sport Manager
Surf Life Saving New Zealand
0275 833 228


Melanie Louden
Media and Communications Manager
Surf Life Saving New Zealand
021 757 433