More than 30 Hawke's Bay lifeguards will be going head-to-head for top honours at a national competition today.
Central Regional Championships (CRC) for surf lifesaving will be held today at Fitzroy Beach in Taranaki with 163 lifeguards from 12 clubs from Wellington to Hawke's Bay and Taranaki.
Last year's winners Ocean Beach have sent 18 lifeguards and Waimarama have 16 competing.
Ocean Beach Kiwi Surf Life Saving Club director of sport Emma Akeripa said the team hoped to defend their title from last year as well as pick up individual medals.
The group arrived yesterday evening and had a training session on the beach and in the water ahead of today's event.
"I think they are quite excited about it as it's their first competition for the season."
The team would be able to get an idea of their fitness levels and how they compared to their opponents, she said.
Waimarama Surf Life Saving Club sports director Michael Bassett-Foss said his team also arrived yesterday and had been training in the evening.
"We're feeling pretty good actually," he said.
"It was quite a drive and the team were itching to get out and on to the beach."
It will be the first time most of the group had seen their opponents this summer and how much training they had done, Mr Bassett-Foss.
The club would be heading back this evening after the competition to get back for Waimarama Beach Day tomorrow.
Both clubs would also be taking part in the 2018 Eastern Regional Championships at the end of this month.
The competition, which is also considered a warm-up for the TSB Bank New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships, will see qualified lifeguards develop skills useful in lifeguarding and compete against their friends to claim the top spots.
The CRC would also see the New Zealand Surf Boat Series competing for round three of their four-round series with 44 surf boat teams entered.
Event manager, Richard Whinham, said conditions were expected to be good with close competition to make it exciting.
"It's also great to have the surf boats here as they are awesome to watch and it just adds another exciting element to the day."
The single-day competition kicks off at 8.30am with athletes competing in a variety of races including ski races, board races, swims and beach sprints.
Central Region Championships clubs and competitors:
East End SLSC, 42
Fitzroy SLSC, 29
Lyall Bay SLSC, 5
Maranui SLSC, 12
New Plymouth Old Boys SLSC, 11
Ocean Beach Kiwi SLSC, 18
Orewa SLSC, 1
Paekakariki Surf Lifeguards, 15
Palmerston North SLSC, 5
Titahi Bay SLSC, 7
Waimarama SLSC, 16
Westshore SLSC, 2
National Surf Boat Series clubs and teams:
East End SLSC, 4
Fitzroy SLSC, 1
Lyall Bay SLSC, 2
Mairangi Bay SLSC, 1
Muriwai Volunteer Lifeguard Service Inc, 3
North Beach SLSC, 2
Omanu SLSC, 1
Orewa SLSC, 5
Paekakariki Surf Lifeguards, 4
Piha SLSC, 7
Red Beach SLSC, 4
Sunset Beach LS, 2
Titahi Bay SLSC, 5
Waihi Beach Lifeguard Services Inc, 1
Whangamata SLSC, 2