Omanu's strong squad of junior surf lifesavers gave themselves the perfect lead-in to next month's under-14 national championships, claiming the Eastern Region club title in Gisborne over the weekend.

The Bay of Plenty club, seeking a third consecutive win at Oceans 16, finished 23 points clear of Waikanae at the Eastland Port-sponsored carnival at Midway Beach.

Omanu finished on 146 points, with Waikanae (123), Papamoa (105) and Mount Maunganui (103) rounding out the top-four.

Amid glorious sunshine and a near-perfect half-metre of a swell, 450 juniors from 15 North Island clubs battled it out over two days, testing their skills in seven divisions, from under-8 to under-14 age groups.


There were some impressive individual performances, not least in the youngest division, where Papamoa's Vinnie Baggott won the run-wade-run, the board race, the diamond race and the beach sprint.

Between them, Omanu's Thomas Gadsbey and Gus Shivnan won six of the nine gold medals on offer in the under-12 boys' division, including taking out the board relay and tube rescue titles, adding silver in the beach relay for good measure.

Papamoa's Lewis Farr was another to showcase his versatility, winning the board race, the run-swim-run and the beach sprint in the under-14 division, while Mount Maunganui's Daniel Shanahan clean-swept the water events in the under-13s.

Mahina Ross (Westshore) was peerless in the under-12 girls', collecting the surf race, run-swim-run, board race and diamond race crowns, while Jamie Julian (Whakatane) did the same in the under-10 boys', adding bronze in the beach flags.

The swimming and sprinting ability of Mount Maunganui's Lulu Johnson helped her take three golds home in the under-10 girls' division, while Midway's Angus Blair also collected a golden treble in the under-11 boys.

Among the smaller teams, Mairangi Bay pocket-rocket Star Te Aukura collected all 11 of her club's points, with wins in the surf race and run-swim-run and silver in the board race and beach flags.

There were also impressive performances from the Whakatane team, finishing fifth and pipping locals Midway and Wainui (48 points each).