Coaching debut sparks returning surf star Anderson

By Kelly Exelby

Last year he helped Papamoa to a breakthrough win - this weekend Glenn Anderson faces his first step into a new realm at the Northern Regional surf lifesaving championships in Mount Maunganui.
The New Zealand captain, a veteran of four world championship campaigns, took on the coaching role at the New Plymouth Old Boys club in October after a season with Papamoa.
The two-day NRC competition represents his first major carnival combining his individual ambitions with the wider goals of his club, and comes a year after he helped Papamoa to a brilliant win in the senior men's taplin at the NRCs.
"Ever since I was young, coming up through the Waikanae club in Gisborne, I've always helped out with coaching and continued that on at Midway," Anderson said.
"I guess it's something I always knew I was going to get into eventually and the only tricky part I've found is fitting my own training around the job. In saying that, I was out coaching for nearly three hours today so while I'm not actually training, I'm still out on the water."
Not that he's given up his competitive streak.
With more than 850 athletes from 32 clubs around New Zealand competing, the NRCs are second only to the national championships in size.
Anderson will face stiff challenges from the likes of Australian-based brothers Mike and Dan Janes and another former Midway teammate, Matt Sutton, in his specialist surf race, as well as Daniel Nelson and Mount Maunganui's Andrew Newton in the ironman.
"I did take a good break after the worlds and I've been cruising over summer but in saying that, I'd expect to be pretty competitive in the surf race and ironman this weekend.

The only problem is I've heard the surf is going to be pretty flat which is a bit disappointing - it's always nice to hide behind a bit of a wave when you're not as fit as you could be."
Other features of the carnival include a white-hot open women's ski race field which includes Beijing Olympic kayaker Erin Taylor and the world's No 1 ranked open ocean ski paddler, Mairangi Bay's Katie Pocock.
Two-time national champion Rochelle Creighton will also line up, alongside Mount Maunganui national flatwater representatives Lisa Carrington and Jaimee Lovett.
They'll tangle with a cluster of teenagers who returned from last week's Youth Olympics with a haul of kayaking medals, including 500m champion Tenealle Hatton (Orewa) and K4 bronze medallists, Mairangi Bay's Stephanie Parker, Paekakariki's Kayla Imrie and Titahi Bay's Alyssa Blyde.
Two other ski combatants, New Zealand squad members Nikki Cox (Westshore) and Madison Boon (Midway) will also be warm favourites in the women's ironman.
Gisborne's Midway club are the defending title holders at the championships after their superior surf skills helped them to a 14-point win over the second-placed host club Mount Maunganui in heavy 2m swells last year.
Piha were third on 30 points, while Anderson's efforts helped Papamoa to an impressive fourth overall last year, on 29 points.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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