Boat gives surf club members more zip

By Corey Charlton

A group of middle-aged junior lifeguards' parents have put Ocean Beach Kiwi Surf Lifesaving Club on the map after buying the club's first surf boat.

The club's team of eight is now getting ready to challenge other lifesaving clubs within Hawke's Bay and New Zealand in the highly competitive sport.

The races involve navigating a boat of four rowers through the surf and back against teams from other lifesaving clubs.

The new boat was purchased second-hand from the Piha Surf Lifesaving Club a few months ago and has been repainted and rebranded in the Ocean Beach Kiwi Surf Lifesaving Club colours.

Its first run-out a week ago ended in gear failure in the semifinals at the national surf boat series. But it hadn't put them off. The club's junior surf co-ordinator, Adrian Barclay, said they had been training twice a week for the last few months.

"Eventually we hope to get our 20, 21, 22, and 23-year-olds involved and we'll form a proper open race crew," he said. "We may also look to put together a girls' crew for the Hawke's Bay champs as well."

Westshore Surf Lifesaving Club had been the only other Hawke's Bay club to race teams and own a boat.

The Ocean Beach crew using it had chipped in to help the club.

"The guys that are rowing are essentially funding it themselves. The ultimate 'would' is to take it up to the nationals in Mount Maunganui next year."

He said that as well as being great for their fitness, it was an exhilarating sport.

"It's great. It's rowing, but not on the flat. You're rowing in the surf. It's a real buzz to be perfectly honest, it's a hell of a thing to do."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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