TSB Nationals produce eighth victory for Mt Maunganui

Friday, 27 March 2020

Photo: Rod Salt

Mt Maunganui Lifeguard Service overcame challenging conditions to claim their eighth victory in a row at the TSB Nationals Surf Life Saving Championships.

The TSB Nationals 2020 were held at Midway Beach, Gisborne from March 12 to 15 and Mt Maunganui’s coach John “Spindles” Bryant says it was a “very pleasant victory”.

Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club placed second, followed by Omanu Surf Life Saving Club.

Known as the pinnacle Surf Lifesaving competition of the season, this year’s event attracted almost 1400 athletes, from 48 clubs around the country. It was held just days before Surf Life Saving New Zealand announced its sports events for the rest of the 2019-2020 season would not proceed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Photo: Rod Salt

TSB Nationals attracts everyone from Masters who have lost track of the number of times they have attended, to 14-year-olds experiencing the event for the first time.

Spindles says the lead up to TSB Nationals had been a long hard year for this team, but everyone raced well and handled the conditions.

He says the club has “some really exceptional kids” and the 77 participants produced many highlight moments.

Among his top picks were the Surf Teams Races where Mt Maunganui won gold medals in five of the six age groups.

“I’ve been aiming to get all six. We keep getting closer each year.”

He says a really good race to watch was the Open Men’s Taplin Relay.

“We got silver, but it was a good race.

“I’m a lucky person to have such good kids and support coaches.”

Photo: Rod Salt

The 2020 competition was Spindles’ 18th TSB Nationals event, and produced the club’s 11th overall win.

Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club coach Cory Hutchings says second place is great for the club, but what he’s most proud of is the 14 gold medals the team came away with.

“I always focus on the kids winning national titles.

“We’ve got some amazing competitors in our club. All the kids that were meant to perform did perform and that made the others step up as well,” Cory says.

The TSB Nationals also provided a history-making moment for Mairangi Bay Surf Life Saving Club member Danielle Mckenzie – she is now the most successful Sports Athlete in Life Saving.

The 25-year-old has won 41 Open titles, both team and individual, in the past 9 years.

Thirty-two of those titles were claimed in the past 4 years, with six of them won at this year’s TSB Nationals.

This supersedes Cory’s career record of 39 titles.  

Photo: Rod Salt

Event organiser Scott Bicknell says this year the conditions were challenging over the whole weekend.

“We had pretty big surf. It was bigger than what we thought it would be.”

He says the “topsy turvy weather” often produced four seasons in one day.

Among his highlights was Red Beach winning the Open Male Taplin Relay over Mt Maunganui.

“That’s a big deal.”

He says it was good to see a high turnout from participants and that the conditions were challenging for them.

“We managed to let the majority of athletes get exposed to challenging conditions, which really tested some of them.”

Photo: Rod Salt

Scott says the fact that races were able to go ahead, was also testament to the quality of the lifeguards patrolling the races.

He says he’s grateful for the support and understanding received from coaches, participants, volunteers, officials, support staff and safety crew.

TSB Nationals is “sport with a purpose” – it celebrates important life saving and beach safety skills, while helping volunteer Surf Lifeguards keep up their fitness.

Competitions like this bring everyone together in a fun and competitive environment and allows them to hone their skills – which helps ensure Surf Lifeguards are more capable when they are on patrol duty.

Photo: Rod Salt

Surf Life Saving NZ wants to thank TSB, Kubota and Trust Tairāwhiti for their support in helping make TSB Nationals happen.

Thanks must also go to Midway Surf Life Saving Club and their work crew for hosting the event and Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club for providing additional last minute support.

The 2021 TSB Nationals Surf Life Saving Championships will be held at Ohope Beach from March 11-14.

Photo: Rod Salt


For a full list of results please click below:

For more information, please contact:

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