Max Beattie finally grabbed a trophy he's been hunting for the best part of a decade, capping a dream year for the Omanu surf lifesaver.
Just days after his 21st birthday and less than two months after helping New Zealand win the world title, Beattie gained the Ian Porteous Memorial ironman title on his home beach during the Pak'n Save Omanu Classic, heading off a strong international field in perfect 1.5-m surf.
Australian-raised Beattie has strong family ties to Omanu and has ventured back to race the Omanu Classic for most of his teenaged years.
"Lifting this trophy is something I've been looking forward to for years," Beattie said. "I love racing back here and Omanu really turned it on today. The water was beautiful, the surf was great and the competition was fantastic, which just makes this win even sweeter."
British surf star George Haynes and Frenchman Julien Lalanne also competed for the local Mount Maunganui club, while Mairangi Bay's Kevin Morrison added to the world championship reunion, with NZ coaches Scott Bartlett and Jason Pocock also present.
Haynes finished second in the ironman, named after Omanu stalwart Ian Porteous who died suddenly in 1995, a day before the club's annual long-distance carnival, while another Omanu athlete Dan Hooker was third.
New Zealand under-20 star Danielle McKenzie (Mairangi Bay) showed her burgeoning class, clearing out to win the ironwoman race from former New Zealand team member Johanna O'Connor, with her rising Mount Maunganui teammate Katie Wilson eased home in third.
McKenzie will represent Northern Region in the bi-annual transtasman tri-series in Auckland this week against teams from New South Wales.
"I really enjoyed the M-shaped ironman course and it was fantastic to compete in some pretty awesome surf for a change," McKenzie said. "That was a lot of fun and great preparation before the international tri-series later this week."
Wilson displayed her all-round capabilities by holding off McKenzie to win the open women's ski race, while the 17-year-old also finished third behind McKenzie and O'Connor in the board race. Omanu's Dannielle O'Connor triumphed in the open women's surf race, ahead of O'Connor with Wilson picking up yet another podium.
Beattie took out the board race from his New Zealand teammate Morrison, with Lalanne third, while Beattie also pipped Lalanne and Haynes in the surf race. Hooker completed a dream day for the host club by holding off Morrison in the ski race.
Their dominance continued in the under-19 men's division, where Omanu's Ben Cochrane won the board race and finished second in the surf race and ski race. He also finished sixth overall - and first under-19 - in the ironman.
Papamoa's Mason Bryant managed a clean-sweep in the under-16 division, while Jess Miller (Mount Maunganui) and Jess Gadsbey (Omanu) ruled the under-19 and under-16 women's divisions respectively.