Big swells on the weekend cancelled a day of surf boat racing at Waihi Beach.
Yesterday's Representative Regional Surf Boat Challenge and the Champion of Champions races between all age grades and men's and women's teams were cancelled due to heavy surf conditions.
However, Saturday's North Island Surf Boat Championship – the fifth round of the six-round NZ Surf Boat Series - went ahead with competitors racing in big waves.
About 400 spectators from New Zealand and Australia watched on as the second-to-last race meet of the series was raced at Waihi Beach, following the Trans-Tasman Surf Boat Challenge.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand sport manager Mike Lord said the day was a tough one for all teams, with big waves making racing challenging and unpredictable.
"The open winners – the Titahi Bay Bay Boys team and Orewa Gems women's team - showed through with considerable performance, holding the boats straight in those conditions. It was tough, and they did well."
The series - which started on December 6 at Whangamata and finishes on February 24 at Omaha Beach near Warkworth - has drawn teams from clubs throughout the country.
Last year, the series open titles were won by Christchurch's North Beach team and the Muriwai women's team.
"Surf boat racing is thrilling to take part in and to watch, but these teams are also part of a surf lifesaving discipline aimed squarely at lifesaving skills - knowing how to battle through difficult ocean conditions to reach people at a moment's notice," Lord said.
"They are highly skilled and rescue-ready. It's good to see them honing their skills each summer with competition, and keeping each other enthused and challenged."
NZ Surf Boat Series Round 5 winners:
(All races were long-course)
Masters men's: Fitzroy Floggers
Masters women's: Waihi Beach Boatie Chicks
Open men's: Titahi Bay Bay Boys
Open women's: Orewa Gems
U23 men's: Titahi Bay Smokefrees
U23 women's: Orewa Sapphires
U19 men's: Paekakariki Showtime
U19 women's: Paekakariki BLA