National titles might be on the cards as Waipū's surf lifesaving crew scoop more good results at the surf rescue North Island championships in Waihi last weekend.
As the only Northland club at the hotly-contested event, Waipu's two under-19 teams, Vikings and Dinoco, performed well in tough conditions over the two days. Dinoco was the standout team with a first place in the assembly rescue and a silver in the tube rescue.
Other notable results for Dinoco was a fourth place in the mass rescue and a semifinal appearance in the teams race with the Vikings team. Unfortunately, the Vikings could not back up an impressive Northern Regions competition in January, with their top result a fourth place in the mass rescue.
The only blip in Dinoco's weekend came in a disqualification from the single rescue race after the driver, Jake McClure, fell out of the boat as they were coming into shore.
"We were a bit gutted because we were winning our heat when I fell out of the boat as we came into the beach when the boat stopped, but we were happy with the rest," McClure said.
The team was made up of a driver in McClure, Callum McKay as crew and Hayden Bartlett as the patient. Despite the disqualification, McClure said they knew they could do well in the early stages, but were pleased by their finals results in challenging conditions.
"We were pretty happy to get a first and a second.
"The conditions were a lot calmer at Northern Regions and we were expecting things to be tougher at North Islands."
With an offshore swell on Saturday morning, conditions at Waihi were rough as crews went out and turned worse on Sunday, with waves going in all directions making rides to and from the shore difficult to navigate.
The North Island surf rescue scene was a competitive one with crews from Mairangi Bay and Bethells Beach particularly hard to beat in the under-19 division along with the world champion Sunset Beach crews, who were always in the mix for the gold medal.
In the weeks leading up to the competition, the Dinoco crew would be out on the water for several hours to ensure they would be able to compete at the top level.
McClure said the results they achieved at North Islands offered a good insight into the standard they would need to race at during the national competition in Dunedin in April.
"It's going to be a step up but we are pretty happy with where our level is for when we go down to Dunedin."
The team of two years prided themselves on studying the surf and the beach before their races, planning out how to maximise their speed in leaving and returning from the water.
"We'll tell each other what we think is going wrong and how to work together better throughout the day," McClure said.
"We've got a good support group helping us and that always makes it easier with a good crew behind you because it makes you want to do well for them."
While the team enjoyed the assembly rescue race more, McClure said ensuring they got off to a good start in their races was essential to have a consistently high standard across the competition.
"We just want to get good starts off the beach because if you can get ahead quickly, you've got a good chance to stay ahead, it's a lot harder to chase.
"We do want to go down to Dunedin and win but we want to try and be consistent instead of going down there and winning one race, we'll train for each race and try get good results in everything."
The national competition will be held on April 6-7 off the Waikouaiti shore in East Dunedin.