Sun & Swell kicks off 2023 TSB Nationals in New BrightonFriday, 10 March 2023
TSB Nationals returned to Christchurch with a bang in 2023 with New Brighton Beach hosting for the first time since 2017.
After two years of hibernation, the 2020 event in Gisborne was a distant memory as the regular massive swells didn’t deter the masters competitors as they kicked off proceedings.
Local Christchurch clubs made up the majority of the 176 competitors who braved the conditions, hoping to pry the Masters Trophy from Tauranga’s Omanu Surf Life Saving Club, who have dominated the masters division since 2009.
Despite some testing conditions at times, it was Taylors Mistake who came out on top, amassing 127 points to finishing ahead of local rivals North Beach (78) & Waimairi (67).
It was a full club effort from Taylors, typified by ‘Hot’ Toddy Grace who celebrated 30 consecutive Nationals, John Landells who flew in especially from Australia, while 80 year-old Brian Rattray donned the speedos for another year to smash out a surf race & run swim run.
In an effort to give more time to an already bulging programme, Thursday saw the start of the Senior programme for the first time with Double Skis & the start of the Beach Sprint programme.
Friday will go down in the memories of young and old as some of the biggest and best waves Nationals has seen in recent times, requiring competitors to show their absolute best in endurance, resilience and surf skills.
The big surf saw changes to the original programme with officials, water safety & clubs all working together to find a way to achieve the right balance between challenge and safety and still managing to get through Surf Races, Board Race (Open & U19), Run Swim Runs as well as continuing Beach Sprints, Relays and U15 Flags.
While its too early to contemplate the race for the Alan Gardner Trophy, there were a number of individual highlights throughout the day:
Waikanae’s Oska Smith taking out the U19 & Open Mens Beach Sprint Titles
Midways Olivia Corrin picking up her first (Surf Race) & Second (Board race) Open titles.
East End’s Freya Stolte coming in 3rd in the Open Women’s board race as a 15 year old
Fitzroy’s Joe Collins picking up his first Open title in the Men’s Board Race.
Otaki’s Luther Maxwell winning the Open Surf Race.
We look forward to Saturday providing more of the same…
All results can be found at wavesresults.surflifesaving.org.nz