Senior coach Cian Jefferson deserved all the kudos which flowed his way in the wake of Westshore's 15th consecutive Hawke's Bay surf life saving championship title win recently.
Otago University physical education student Jefferson, 24, has not only mentored many of the 39 lifeguards who contributed to Westshore's 204 point victory over nearest rivals Waimarama during his four years at the helm, he also won three individual titles and competed in five title-winning teams during the three-day champs.
However he was quick to shake off the kudos.
"It was more about the mentality of our lifeguards, their keenness to do it for Westshore and put the club first as well as their versatility," Jefferson said.
Like Jefferson, the club's director of lifeguarding Brian Quirk, who has been involved in all 15 successes as well as four of the club's 10 consecutive titles which ended in 1971, were surprised by their winning margin.
"After the first day we were one point behind Ocean Beach Kiwi. But on the second day our athletes just slayed themselves for the club and it was awesome that most of the events on the second day were staged at our club in front of our junior club members after events were shifted from Waimarama because the surf was too big," Quirk recalled.
Jefferson said the best example of the club's versatility was the fact all of the athletes who competed in the beach events on the Saturday fronted for the surf events on the Sunday.
"Every time someone was asked to do a team event they fronted. Our winning of the open men's taplin relay was huge as we hadn't done that since 2012 and Ocean Beach Kiwi had won it every year since," Jefferson explained.
He was joined in the relay team by Reid Barker, an under-16 grade competitor who is a son of former Hawks basketballer Murray Barker and grandson of 1954 New Zealand Commonwealth Games diving representative Jeanette Barker, Tirau Wihongi, Jade Wills, Jack McGhie and Hamish McNabb.
Quirk believed Westshore had the right mix of youth and experience. The Cowlrick sisters, Larissa and Chantelle, returned to the team this year after absences of three and four years respectively.
At the other end of the experience scale were talented youngsters Mahina Ross and Hannah Cotter. Ross will compete at the junior nationals at Orewa on March 3 and 4 and the senior nationals in Gisborne from March 16-18.
Ross won the under-19 girls surf race and run-swim-run titles. Cotter won the under-16 girls board race and under-19 girls 2km run titles.
Barker won the under-16 boys ironman, board race and run-swim run titles. Cotter's sister Kaitlin won the under-16 girls beach flags and under-19 girls board race titles.
Talented rugby loosie Devan Flanders, the star of last year's New Zealand Secondary Schools team and national title-winning Hastings Boys' High School 1st XV, competed for Westshore and won the open men's beach sprint title. Jefferson's sister Niamh, a Hawke's Bay Tuis rugby rep, won the open women's beach flags title for Westshore.
Quirk believed most of the athletes who contributed to this summer's winning of the Allan Christie Trophy will be back again next summer.
"A lot of our youngsters are talking about a Westshore club legacy. The gap closed a bit last year when we won by 101 so to win by 204 this year was pretty significant."
Quirk emphasised the margin was a vindication of the club's coaching programmes.
"Cian has had many of these athletes since they were 10. By the time they are 14 their ski and board skills are pretty good."
Westshore finished the Hawke's Bay champs with 419 points. Waimarama, who dominated the IRB events and fielded 36 athletes recorded 215 points.
Third place getters Ocean Beach Kiwi had 57 athletes in action and recorded 212 points and the six-strong Pacific contingent posted 7 points.