Nippers take on swells

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Waihi Beach and Whiritoa junior lifeguards challenged at Under 14 New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships, Mount Maunganui. PHOTO: Alana McIsaac.
Waihi Beach and Whiritoa junior lifeguards challenged at Under 14 New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships, Mount Maunganui. PHOTO: Alana McIsaac.

Mount Main Beach was action-packed today in day one of the Under-14 Surf Life Saving Championships.

Nearly 900 children, aged seven to fourteen have come from 42 clubs around the country to compete in the New Zealand's largest junior surf life saving event, Oceans 16.

The event, kicked off today at 10am and went well despite the "challenging conditions."

Even manager Scott Bickness said they could not have asked for a better opening day.

"The weather has been fantastic and while the conditions were challenging with the swell, we're really impressed with how all of our athletes dealt with it.

"They all did extremely well today and we're all really looking forward to tomorrow."

The day started with the beach flags trial, which saw children start from a laying-down position, before running 15 meters to claim one of 'beach flags' from the ground at the opposite end and with less flags than competitors, it was a mad dash to grab a flag and proceed to the next round.

The run-swim-run race was held later in the afternoon, which saw the young athletes swim approximately 250 meters in the surf and run around 150 meters along the beach.

The championship is one of Surf Life Saving's biggest events and encourages young children to pursue a future in life guarding with fun activities and challenges.

Oceans 16 starts again tomorrow at the Mt Maunganui Surf Life Saving Club from 8am, with the board rescue trial taking place in the water first.

Entry to the event is free and food, coffee and ice-cream is available on-site.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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