Surf Life Saving New Zealand has selected the Open and Youth teams, known as the Black Fins and Junior Black Fins, to represent New Zealand at the 2017 International Surf Rescue Challenge (ISRC) to be held at Mount Maunganui from November 30 to December 3.
The beach competition, which is held every two years, is a gathering of the world's top lifesavers and originally started in 1939 as the Trans-Tasman Series between Australia and New Zealand.
Eight national Open teams and five Youth national teams are confirmed to take part including New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, South Africa, USA, Canada, France and Japan.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand sport manager Mike Lord says the ISRC is a major event on the High Performance campaign calendar.
"It is an important part of testing our beach athletes on an international stage as part of our preparations for the 2018 Lifesaving World Championships where New Zealand will be looking to take the title for the fourth consecutive time," he said.
"The event will be the first time the Black Fins have competed in New Zealand since 2011 which is also something to look forward to."
The New Zealand Open (Black Fins) and Youth (Junior Black Fins) teams includes 12 athletes each - six male and six female.
Half of the Open team are world champion Black Fins including Danielle McKenzie, Devon Halligan (Omanu), Natalie Peat (Papamoa), Olivia Eaton (Mt Maunganui), Cory Taylor, and Max Beattie (Omanu), along with 2016 Olympians Kayla Imrie and Marty McDowell plus beach sprinter and High Performance squad member Kodi Harman (Papamoa).
Lord says it is a very strong team of athletes with a lot of international experience.
"Danielle, Devon, Natalie, Olivia, Cory, Marty and Max were all part of the New Zealand team for the 2015 ISRC in Australia so their knowledge of the event will also be a big advantage as well as getting to race on home soil," he said.
The Youth team is a mixture of returning athletes and newcomers.
Libby Bradley (Mt Maunganui), Zac Reid and Olivia Corrin represented New Zealand with the Youth team at the 2016 World Lifesaving Championships. Olivia, together with Bayden Botha, also represented the Youth team at the 2015 ISRC and she is due to represent New Zealand at the World Games in Poland this July along with Oscar Williams, who has also been named for the 2017 ISRC.
Claudia Kelly, Samalulu Clifton and Lincoln Waide (Mt Maunganui) will also represent New Zealand at the Sanyo Cup in June along with Libby Bradley.
The 2017 ISRC will be the first taste of representing New Zealand on an international stage for Sophie Sanford, Tessa Bradley (Mt Maunganui), Aidan Smith (Papamoa) and Mitch Cowdrey (Papamoa).
New Zealand Black Fins
Carina Doyle- St Clair, Danielle McKenzie- Mairangi Bay, Devon Halligan- Omanu, Kayla Imrie- Paekakariki, Natalie Peat- Papamoa, Olivia Eaton- Mt Maunganui, Cory Taylor- Midway, Kodi Harman- Papamoa, Lewis Clareburt- Lyall Bay, Marty McDowell- Titahi Bay, Max Beattie- Omanu, Nick Malcolm- Mairangi Bay, Jason Pocock- Coach, Mark Weatherall-Manager
New Zealand Junior Black Fins
Claudia Kelly- East End, Libby Bradley- Mt Maunganui, Olivia Corrin- Midway, Samalulu Clifton- Mairangi Bay, Sophie Sanford- Omanu, Tessa Bradley- Mt Maunganui, Aidan Smith- Papamoa, Bayden Botha- Mairangi Bay, Lincoln Waide- Mt Maunganui, Mitch Cowdrey- Papamoa, Oscar Williams- Piha, Zac Reid- Fitzroy. Matt Cairns- Papamoa Coach, Matt Sutton- Assistant Coach.