SURF LIFESAVING - Beattie spoilt for choice

Hamish Beattie knows it's almost time to make the big decision - kayaking or surf lifesaving.
"Kayaking will probably get the nod particularly if the Olympic Games come into the equation. There's bit more of a future in kayaking but I enjoy surf lifesaving ... it has variety and is better than paddling up and down a river all day," said Beattie.
It's obvious the talented Hawke's Bay 18-year-old will put off the decision as long as possible. And who can blame him ... Beattie is continuing to thrive in both codes.
This weekend he will be a second year competitor for the Hawke's Bay under-19 team which will attempt to bring home a third consecutive title from the national Surf League in Mount Maunganui. Less than a month earlier he was the only Bay paddler to win a kayaking medal at the Youth Olympics in Sydney.
Beattie combined with Jasper Bates of Levin, Gisborne's Darryl Fitzgerald and Waihi's Sam Newlands to win silver in the K4 500. He finished eighth in the K1 500 and seventh in the K2 1000 with William Wilkins.
"I was more than happy with those results as this is my first full summer in the sport. I went away as the fifth or sixth ranked Kiwi paddler and returned home ranked among the top four," said Beattie.
His next taste of international kayaking is likely to come as an under-21 paddler in the New Zealand transtasman team next year. Depending on his study commitments, the 2012 London Olympics are a possibility.
"The 2016 Olympics are probably more realistic," said Beattie who will start a five-year architecture course at Victoria University this month.

With his move to Wellington Beattie will be closer to New Zealand kayaking coach Mark Watson.
Upon his return from Sydney Beattie had little time to rest. Four days later he was travelling to Mount Maunganui with his Westshore club's northern regional surf lifesaving team. Beattie finished third in the under-19 board race, fourth in the ironman and fifth in the ski. He is confident his Bay team will complete a hat-trick this weekend when he will tackle ironman, ski and team events.
The former Napier Boys' High School student is a former national under-16 ski champion and under-14 and under-13 ironman champion. Although he will be studying in Wellington, Beattie will continue to represent Hawke's Bay in both codes.
Two-time world champion Nikki Cox and three-time national ironman champion Dan Moodie, who has been based in Australia for the past six months, will spearhead the Bay's open team this weekend. Captain Shane Bennett will be competing in his 12th consecutive national Surf League.
At the opposite end of the experience scale Luke Aitken, Lydia Diver, and Clair Benson will be making their debuts at Open level. Diver will also compete for the under-19 team.
Beattie is one of two 2009 Youth Olympians in the Bay's under-19 team. Nationally ranked swimmer Ben Gillies is the other.
Once again national silver medallist Ashton Tuck is expected to shine in the beach events.


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