New Zealand under-20 reps Natalie Peat, Sam Johnstone, Karina Radley and Sam Shergold all got valuable competitive workouts ahead of the world championships next month in the second round of the Bay of Plenty surf lifesaving Spring Series at Mount Maunganui's Main Beach on Saturday.
Thankfully the roaring winds that had blighted the area all week dropped to enable the competition to go ahead, although the swim legs of the Ironman events were dropped as the water temperature was too low.
Ocean Beach Kiwi kayaking star Scott Bicknell was involved in some hectic action up against Travis Mitchell from Mairangi Bay, with the Mount Maunganui-based Bicknell proving his class in the first ski race before Mitchell fought back well to take out the second race.
Bicknell, the club development officer for Bay of Plenty Surf Lifesaving, said the spring carnival was a success, with some close-fought racing in the improved conditions.
"It was a great day because the wind died down at just the right time, so we had a fantastic morning which boosted our numbers," he said. "It is the most people we have had at a competition so far so that's good for the start of the season and the start of patrolling.
"Karina Radley from the Mount was the standout in the women's event, winning both ski races, closely followed by Natalie Peat, who took out the Ironman. Both are in the NZ Under-20 team so that is a good sign. It was certainly a really strong showing from Mount and Papamoa, and a good fight-out between them, but Omanu also had a contingent there this time round."
Omanu's Ben Cochrane nearly caused an upset as he stormed home in the final leg to finish a close second behind Bicknell in the men's Ironman.
The final Spring Carnival will be held at Tay St beach on November 4.
Bicknell says there is added interest because the venue is a bit of an unknown to most surf club members.
"It is quite a unique venue for us because we don't normally go there.
"It is halfway between Mount and Omanu so a lot of the clubbies are really keen to test it out and go somewhere different.
"It is a different type of beach so it will keep everyone guessing and gets them ready for the season ahead, where the beach and the conditions can change.
"It is getting closer to summer so hopefully the weather will be getting better and we get a nice wave off Tay St."