Westshore co-manager Ian Horsefield heaped kudos on the club's under-16 contingent after winning Hawke's Bay's surf lifesaving championship title for the 17th consecutive year at the weekend.
"The under-16 athletes get thrown into everything ... events in their age group as well as under-19 and open events. They get hammered but this is what the club is about and the older members know from their time in the younger age groups. The versatility of the younger athletes makes the club what it is ... they are prepared to do everything," Horsefield explained as he reflected on the Waimarama-hosted champs.
Once the points from the weekend's champs were combined with the points from the previous Saturday's IRB champs at Waimarama Westshore beat Waimarama by 34 points, three more than their winning margin over Ocean Beach Kiwi last year.
"It was pretty tough this year as everyone was gunning for us. It was touch and go for a while with other clubs dominating different age groups and it came down to the wire which is great for the sport," Horsefield said.
He has been involved with the club for 10 years and predicted Westshore could retain the title for another two years at least.
"There is so much talent coming through the age groups."
One of Westshore's busiest under-16 athletes, Rachel Klem, made the podium in 18 different events at the weekend. A member of the club for the past five years, the 15-year-old Napier Girls' High School Year 11 student, was impressed with what Westshore achieved.
"It was pretty awesome and it's good to see the club still going strong."
"I would like to congratulate all of my Westshore teammates and thank our coaches Cian [Jefferson] and Chris [Swain] for all the hard work they put in throughout the season," Klem said.
She won 10 golds, five silver and three bronze medals in individual and team events at the weekend. Klem's golds were won in the under-16 beach relay, the under-19 and under-16 board relays, the under-16 ironwoman, the under-16 ski relay, the under-19 and under-16 taplin relays, the under-19 surf canoe long course event, the under-16 board rescue and the under-16 tube rescue.
At last month's Waimarama-hosted Central Region championships Klem won the under-16 ironwoman title and finished third in the ski race. She made the finals of both events at the Mount Maunganui-hosted Eastern Regional championships earlier this month.
Klem will aim to make the finals of both events at next month's Gisborne-hosted nationals where she will compete in several individual events and tackle most team events. A Napier Aquahawks Swimming Club member and Hawke's Bay Kayaking Club member, Klem, will compete at her first kayaking nationals this weekend at Lake Karapiro.
"Kayaking is good for my surf lifesaving training," Klem added.
As expected Jonty Laver and Bella Bassett-Foss were influential figures for second placed Waimarama. Laver had 14 wins in individual or team events while Bassett-Foss had 11.
Laver also won two silver and one bronze medal while Bassett-Foss also collected two silver medals.
Laver won the open and under-19 ironman titles and this double suggests he is on track to tick off his goal of a berth in the under-19 ironman final at nationals where he is also eyeing a podium finish in his age group's ski final. Laver won the under-19 ski title at the weekend.
Bassett-Foss won the open ironwoman title at the weekend. She is hoping for final berths in her open ironwoman and ski events in Gisborne.
As has been the tradition in recent years Ocean Beach Kiwi collected the bulk of their points in beach events. Wesley Akeripa, a Napier Boys' High School 1st XV rugby winger last year, won the open male beach sprint and beach flags titles.
He combined with clubmates Adam Bibby, Corban Watson and Zethan Bennett to win the open male beach relay title. There was an Ocean Beach Kiwi trifecta of Cleo Roderick, Grace Akeripa and Jess Tucker in the open female beach sprint and this trio combined with Olivia Kirkpatrick to win gold in the open female beach relay.
Final points in the Hawke's Bay champs were: Westshore 363, Waimarama 329, Ocean Beach Kiwi 162.