Mount Maunganui clean up at surf awards

By Peter White

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WELL DESERVED: Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service members celebrate after being crowned Club of the Year at the BOP Coromandel Surf Lifesaving Awards of Excellence evening. PHOTO/SUPPLIED 240716sp20BOP
WELL DESERVED: Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service members celebrate after being crowned Club of the Year at the BOP Coromandel Surf Lifesaving Awards of Excellence evening. PHOTO/SUPPLIED 240716sp20BOP

Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service is celebrating after the club swept the prize table at the ZESPRI Kiwifruit BOP Coromandel Surf Lifesaving Awards of Excellence awards held on Saturday night.

Individual awards went to Bella Akroyd (U14 Female), Daniel Shanahan (U14 Male), Lochlainn O'Connor (U16 Male), Tessa Bradley (U16 Female), Kane Sefton (U19 Male), Libby Bradley (U19 Female), Adam Simpson (Open Male), Jessica Miller (Open Female), Olivia Eaton (International Athlete of the Year) plus Hamish Miller and Kane Sefton (International Team of the Year).

Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service was also named Club of the Year.

Earlier this year the club won highly sought after team awards including the Paul Kent SLSNZ Pool Championships and the Allan Gardener Trophy at the SLSNZ National Championships.

Head coach John "Spindles" Bryant said he was "absolutely stoked" for the outstanding young athletes who were honoured.

"These kids do a lot of hard work and they put a lot of trust and faith in me to guide them in the right areas whether that is training at the Mount or overseas," Bryant said.

"The key these days is the management of them and making sure they are all well set up on both the national stage and the international stage."

While the awards were received with great delight the decision by Surf Life Saving New Zealand to shift the NZ Under 14 Surf Life Saving Championships away from Mount Main Beach to Orewa in 2018 came as a shock to all and sundry at the club.

Earlier this year nearly 900 children aged from 7-14 competed but following a bidding process Surf Lifesaving New Zealand awarded Oceans 18 to Orewa Beach on Auckland's North Shore.

Bryant said the Mount club was "honoured to have been able to hold this competition for the last 16 years since it began".

"We are stoked to have been able to support young lifeguards from throughout New Zealand and give them a chance to experience racing in different surf and test the skills they train for.

"We will be re-applying for it in 2019 because we believe it is the best venue possible for kids. We have four or five different areas we can set up in so they are always going to be able to race their national titles whatever the conditions.

"We can go at main beach, Shark Ally, the other side of Castle Rock, Sullivan Ave or even Pilot Bay plus we believe we have the best beach set up as well with a natural viewing platform above the beach."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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