Surf lifesaving: Season opener
Bay of Plenty surf lifesavers kicked off their season in style at Omanu Beach on Sunday.
Challenging two-metre surf proved the perfect opener for the first round of the Spring Series, with nearly 50 competitors showing up to compete in ski and board races.
Among those racing were Papamoa's Ben Johnston and Natalie Peat and Mount Maunganui's Sam Shergold, who are all competing for the New Zealand under-20 team at the Rescue 2012 world championships in Adelaide in November.
"This was definitely a lot different to what we're going to find at the worlds, where it's a flat-water beach, but it was still great fun and good to have some quality racing," Peat said.
Her Papamoa team will also be sending a big team to this week's Pool Champs in Wellington, with Peat and Johnston shouldering a big workload as they look to defend their overall club title.
"It's been pretty full-on, having to fit in both the beach and the pool training, but it's just a matter of finding that balance," Peat said.
Peat had a good tussle in the women's division with Mount Maunganui's Arna Wright, while Papamoa 16-year-old Danny Hart had a great day out in the board racing.
He won two of the three races, with Shergold grabbing the other win.
Series organiser and national kayaking star Scott Bicknell won all three ski races in the big swells, getting out cleanly and showing great surf skills to hold his craft upright coming in.
He was delighted with the conditions, given surf lifesaving patrols start in fewer than three weeks.
"These competitors showed how fit and skilful they are out there and they'll all be patrolling our local beaches over summer, which has got to be pretty comforting for the wider public," Bicknell said. "It was the perfect start to the Spring Series and hopefully we'll continue to attract good numbers."
The next event in the series will be at Labour weekend at Mount Maunganui's Main Beach, with Tay St Beach hosting the last round in November.
Surfing: National champs
Mount Maunganui surfers claimed both the boys and girls titles at the final day of the National Primary School Championships on Sunday, as well as filling five of the eight finals berths, to show their regional dominance in junior surfing.
The final day of the event was contested in 1m waves at Fitzroy Beach, New Plymouth, with winds remaining light all day.
Mount Maunganui surfers Kehu Butler and Kea Smith both defended their national titles.
In the boys' division, Butler had looked sharp all event and in the semifinals, posted the highest heat score of the event - 15.50 out of 20 points. In the final he was equally dominant posting a 13.67 point heat total leaving his opponents with massive scores required to catch up. Midway through the final Butler latched onto a clean lefthander and he belted two big backhand turns to score a 7.67 ride. He backed that up with a 6.0 point ride for the win.
In the girls' division, Smith was in spectacular form all event. In the final she posted 9.43 out of a possible 20 points fronting up to the full tide conditions and limited wave offerings against her three opponents, who also attend Mount Maunganui Intermediate. Maaia Reid-Bennett placed runner-up scoring a 6.47 point heat total, Tiana Breeze de Mooj finished third and Raiha Ensor was fourth.
Smith surfed on her backhand on the lefthanders and completed several controlled turns on her waves to edge out her mates and will be a surfer to watch as she progresses through the age group divisions.
Duathlon: World class
Aiden Dunster from Mount Maunganui won a silver medal in the Under-19 section at the World Duathlon Championships held in Nancy, France.
He was the only member of the NZ team to win a medal and it was a new experience for Dunster.
He says it was nothing like he expected and has given him a lot of confidence for future races.
"As it was my first international race my first thoughts were 'I'm going to get left behind and these guys look serious'. I was nervous but still had confidence in myself as I had put the hard yards in training," he said.
"The race started at a very fast pace and I couldn't believe it when I ran down the guy who was second and I held that place for pretty much the whole race. On the bike I took a lot of time off the guy leading, and coming out of transition two he was only a few seconds in front. I ran him down and stayed with him but couldn't hold the pace he was running at, so settled for second place.
"I was stoked with my result as I finished better than I thought I would and also set a personal best time for myself 1hr 59min. I think I will always remember my trip over there, racing in my first international event and placing second. It was such an experience and one that I will treasure for the rest of my career."
Soccer: Clean sweep
The Old Blues women's team travelled to Hamilton last weekend to play Hillcrest United at Gower Park for the Federation Plate Final. The girls played some good football, winning 5-0. Monique Lowry did her usual and scored a hattrick, which was supported by Amy Degroot who got the opening goal. Sophie Johnston scored the final goal. Jacinta Coleman played a great game and was named Player of the Day.
The Old Blues have a clean sweep of the Bay of Plenty and Waikato after winning the League, Pullar Cup and Federation Plate.