This weekend more than 400 young Kiwis will be in action at Mt Maunganui's Omanu Beach during one of the first Surf Life Saving Eastern Region sport carnivals of the season.

The Bay of Plenty Junior Championships have attracted registrations from throughout the North Island.

Athletes aged 8-14 will compete in a range of surf life saving sports events including beach sprints, flag runs, swims, board paddling and team relay events.

"It should be an exciting competition and the forecast shows we're expecting good weather conditions with a very small swell, so our athletes should have a fun day," Surf Life Saving Eastern Region sport manager Mark Inglis said.


The event is aimed at growing the young athletes' experience and skill levels in and around the water, and are an exciting way to engage youngsters in learning about surf lifesaving. The older juniors can also work with their clubs toward becoming the next group of volunteer lifeguards, he said.

The number of entries was strong this year, which would mean dozens of exciting races for the youngsters.

"It's a festive time of year and our junior events always have a great atmosphere, as our athletes get to test their skills against other young athletes.

"Come on down to Omanu Surf Life Saving Club and watch the future champions of our sport racing, while they also hone their skills to hopefully become surf lifeguards too."

Next year the National Surf Life Saving Under-14 Championships, known as the Oceans, will also be held at Main Beach, Mt Maunganui, on March 7 -10.

That event will be followed by the TSB New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships, the biggest SLSNZ sport event of the year, which is also set to be held at Mt Maunganui's Main Beach, from March 21-24.

Bay of Plenty Junior Surf Life Saving Championships - Number of participants per association

Fitzroy SLSC 2, Mairangi Bay SLSC 7, Midway SLSC 25, Mt Maunganui Lifeguard Service 82, Omanu SLSC 92, Opotiki SLSC 2, Orewa SLSC 12, Papamoa SLSC 34, Pukehina Surf Rescue 29, Red Beach SLSC 1, Waihi Beach Lifeguard Services Inc 42, Waikanae SLSC 12, Wainui SLSC 6, Whakatane SLSC 42, Whangamata SLSC 26, Total 414.