Surf lifesaving

The famed Mount Monster will open a new dimension next Saturday with the Mini Monster set to showcase the best junior talent around.

The Dexion-sponsored endurance festival on December 16 will feature a 3.2km course for an invitation-only field of under-14 athletes, which will see them run, swim and board paddle on a scenic Main Beach course in Mount Maunganui.

It will act as a prelude to the 25km, four-stage senior race with Mini Monster race director Sam Shergold delighted to give junior athletes something to aspire to.

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"This will be a unique test of stamina and speed for these juniors and it will showcase some of the extraordinary talent we have in this region in the under-14 age group," Shergold said.

"These will be our Mount Monster champions of the future and we're excited about giving them the chance to race on the Main Beach in front of a big crowd."

This year's Mini Monster will help celebrate the fifth year of the main event, which has seen the cream of New Zealand's surf lifesaving talent compete over the last four years.
Organisers hope to open the junior race up to a larger pool of athletes next year but have earmarked a select group, in consultation with local coaches, to trial the event.

Juniors will start with a 100m sprint, followed by a 600m M-shape swim, a 600m run transition, a 1200m M-shape board paddle and a 700m run to finish.

The main race is expecting another record field, after 93 individuals and 219 team entrants entered last year. Seniors will start and finish on Mount Maunganui's Main Beach, with a 5km beach run, a spectacular swim leg which includes a jump off Moturiki Island's blowhole, a 12km ski leg to Omanu and finishing with a 6km board paddle.