Australia once again rule the waves and sand after the DHL International Surf Rescue Challenge series concluded on Mount Main Beach today.
In the Open division the Black Fins finished second behind Australia while the Junior Black Fins also had to settle for second behind their transtasman rivals.
The Open senior competition began in 1937 and in that time the Black Fins have only won a single test against Australia in 2015.
The highlight of the three-test series was the test win for the Junior Black Fins over Australia on Saturday — the first by a New Zealand youth team since the competition began in 1999.
The Junior Black Fins had a strong Western Bay of Plenty influence with head coach Matt Cairns from Papamoa and team members Libby Bradley, Tessa Bradley, Lincoln Waide (Mt Maunganui), Aidan Smith, Mitch Cowdrey (Papamoa) and Sophie Sanford (Omanu) all learning their craft along the Bay of Plenty coastline.
Cairns was delighted with his team's performance on Saturday in beating not just the Australians but strong representation from USA, Great Britain and South Africa.
"It was really exciting for us and a huge day for New Zealand surf. I think it shows we have good programmes happening and that our high performance young athletes are coming through," he said.
"It was good across all the events. Everyone stepped up and we had really good team unity. They all wanted to race for each other and that really showed out on the water and on the sand."
Bay of Plenty was represented by Max Beattie, Devon Halligan (Omanu), Natalie Peat, Kodi Harman (Papamoa) and Olivia Eaton (Mt Maunganui) in the Black Fins team against Australia, USA, Great Britain, South Africa, Japan and Canada.
Black Fins manager Mark Weatherall was pleased overall with the efforts of his team.
"For us we wanted to win the event for sure but we did some really good things over the (three days). We are really happy. It is all about the processes and the outcomes will come from that. We have a young team, six new Black Fins this time round, so we are building for the future and this was a great opportunity for them to race against some of the best in the world," he said.
The visits to local schools on Friday's rest day were important in improving the profile of the sport, Weatherall said.
"We went to Fairview in Te Puke, Mount College and Omanu and it was wicked. I went to Omanu and we had 300 kids there and they listened to a presentation, we showed them a video, answered some questions and left some giveaways.
"The kids did a haka for us which blew us away."
Surf Life Saving New Zealand sport manager Mike Lord says the event was a huge success and it was an honour to host the six visiting nations.
"We are proud to have hosted this event and shown the world how fantastic the beaches are here in New Zealand. The (series) was really well received all around the world and it was great to see so many supporters cheering on their team through social media.
"I also want to thank all the officials, volunteers and event management for their tireless effort in putting this event on."