Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club dominates awards

By Kiri Gillespie

Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club has reigned supreme after taking home a staggering 14 out of 20 wins at this year's local club awards.

The regional Awards of Excellence were held on Saturday at Mount Maunganui and celebrated outstanding coaching, lifeguarding and surf sports on Western Bay shores.

The Papamoa club was named Club of the Year by judges and the club's general manager and head coach Kurt Wilson was awarded Coach of the Year.

Papamoa club's Kodi Harman was named International Sportsperson of the Year, Ross Edwards Surf Official of the Year, Maia Bryant Rookie Lifeguard of the Year, and Stu Lowth named Instructor of the Year.

Among the surf sports competitors, Papamoa club members took six of the eight titles - Maia Bryant was named Under 14 Female Sportsperson of the Year, Katie Wilson Under 16 Female Sportsperson of the Year, Ben Johnston Under 16 Male Sportsperson of the Year, Natalie Peat Under 19 Female Sportsperson of the Year, Mason Pickering Under 19 Sportsperson of the Year and Kodi Harman was named Open Male Sportsperson of the Year.

The Papamoa Beach Relay Team - Kodi Harman, Jordan Hills, Hamish Smith and Daniel Kayes were named Sports Team of the Year and the Papamoa club were joint winners with Omanu Surf Life Saving Club for Patrol Club of the Year.

Mr Wilson said the wins were particularly pleasing as he had trained some members since their first entry into surf sports.

"I've had the luxury of coaching them since they were 10 or 11. Now they're 17 or 18 and the rewards are really coming their way now," he said.

Mr Wilson said the young clubbies trained about 14 times a week.

"They swim with me every morning and have another training session in the afternoon.

"They really enjoy it. That's their chosen sport and they chuck everything at it."

Mr Wilson said the club has had a stable development programme in place and a restructuring of the club's management system meant matters were better attended to.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand programmes and services manager for the eastern region Mike Lord said volunteers and strong leadership were a big reason behind Papamoa club's successes.

"Kurt does a lot in that place in terms of leadership, events and training," Mr Lord said.

"Not only do they do well in sports events but also they have really got strength in lifesaving as well."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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