TSB New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Championships at New Brighton a huge success

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) says this year’s TSB New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Championships held on Christchurch’s New Brighton beach from Thursday, 9 March to Sunday, 12 March was an incredibly successful carnival, and it was fantastic to complete after three years of COVID-19 disruptions.


The TSB New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Championships, known as the TSB Nationals, is the pinnacle sports event for Surf Lifeguards from all over Aotearoa. The carnival caters to all levels of participation, from those competing for the first time through to professional athletes and current World Champions, and athletes compete in almost all Surf Lifesaving disciplines.


Thursday morning saw 176 Masters (30+) take to the water while 917 Seniors continued proceedings on Thursday afternoon through to Sunday afternoon. In all, 44 of New Zealand’s 74 Surf Life Saving Clubs were represented from Waipu in the north to Brighton in the south.


All competitors are current members of one of the 74 Surf Life Saving Clubs and are all qualified Surf Lifeguards.


Lewis McClintock, SLSNZ’s National Sports Manager, says: “This year’s event was highly anticipated and did not disappoint, proving a huge success on every level – Christchurch turned on the sun and swell across the four days ensuring competitors had to show their absolute best in terms of endurance and surf skills.


“A huge thank you to all the Clubs, competitors, officials and volunteers who took part. Without them, we would not have been able to run the event or have made it the success it proved to be.”


“The TSB Nationals were last held on New Brighton beach in 2017. New Brighton beach has always been a terrific venue for the championships and, once again, Christchurch, New Brighton SLSC and the local New Brighton community proved to be fantastic hosts.” 


Local Christchurch club, Taylors Mistake took out the Masters Trophy on Day 1.  Their athletes aged 30+ accumulated the most points throughout the event, edging out local rivals North Beach & Waimairi and breaking the stranglehold Omanu has had on the trophy since 2009.

Mount Maunganui celebrated Head Coach John ‘Spindles’ Bryant’s 20th year at the club by delivering their 9th consecutive Alan Gardner Trophy for the most points accumulated throughout the carnival in the U15 – Open age events.


As usual, there were many outstanding performances throughout the event.


In the open division, Joe Collins (Fitzroy) continued his hot form from the Australian Iron Series with Joe picking up National titles in the Ironman, Ski and Board. Meanwhile, Mairangi Bays Danielle McKenzie reinforced her status as New Zealand’s most dominant Surf Lifesaving athlete adding another 5 open division golds (Double Ski, Ski, Iron, Ski Relay & Taplin) to her impressive 41.

Waikanae’s Oska Smith proved to be the king of the sand taking home 4 golds across the under 19 and open beach sprint and beach flags while also picking up 2 silvers in the under 19 and open beach sprint relays.


In the age groups, Waikanae’s Lachie Fallon proved his ability across multiple disciplines picking up 4 gold and 3 silver in the under 19 division while Kiana O’Fee from Mt Maunganui grabbed 4 gold and a silver in the under 19 females category.


Not to be outdone by the small craft athletes, Titahi Bay boatie Christian Donkin came away with 5 golds across the under 19, under 23 and open men’s Long & short course races as Titahi Bay took home the ‘Oar’ trophy for the most points in Surf Boats.


Lewis McClintock said, “SLSNZ would like to thank TSB for their continued support of this event. We are also extremely grateful to ChristchurchNZ for the funding we received to bring our pinnacle event back to Ōtautahi Christchurch and we look forward to coming back soon.”


Tracey Wilson, GM for Destination and Attraction, ChristchurchNZ, said: “It’s fantastic this multi-sport multi-day event got perfect conditions here in Ōtautahi and you could see New Brighton was a hive of activity.


It’s inspiring that the Surf Life Saving community pulled together to support those clubs affected by the recent weather events, and we hope they felt at home here in Christchurch.


Our beachside neighbourhood is experiencing a revival, and events like Surf Life Savings champs ensure money spent in the community and local businesses. “


In 2024, the TSB New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships will make a return to Mount Maunganui.