Northern regionals yield 11 medals
A SMALL group of Gisborne surf lifeguards won big at the northern regional surf lifesaving championships at Omaha Beach, north-east of Warkworth, with a stack of gold, silver and bronze medals.
Riversun Wainui rising stars Ava Smith, Jack Keepa and Jonty Evans were joined by Nathan Proctor from Kaiaponi Farms Waikanae.
They won a total of four gold, five silver and two bronze medals at the weekend.
The championships were held in up to a metre of surf on Saturday and smaller conditions on Sunday.
Smith won gold medals in both the open women's and u19 women's board races.
She won silver in the u19 women's surf race, and silver in the u19 women's run-swim-run.
Keepa and Evans won gold in the u19 men's board rescue, and teamed up with Proctor to win gold in the u19 men's board relay.
Evans won silver in the u16 men's board race, Keepa won silver in the u19 men's ironman and u16 ski, and bronze in the u19 men's board race.
The three young men teamed up to take bronze in the u19 men's taplin.
“Jack and Jonty raced up an age group in the under-19 bracket and were fantastic; they were really competitive,” Wainui head coach Dion Williams said.
“Nathan competed up an age bracket, too, in the open ironman, where he finished sixth or seventh, which was also fantastic.”
Williams said Ava Smith was her usual dominant self on the board.
“For such a casual kid she sure can paddle a board,” he said.
“Her swimming was on point as well, and she was up with the best of them.”
Williams said the good, fast racing they experienced would stand them all in good stead for the New Zealand championships in Gisborne in just over two weeks.
“It was a really good final competition hit-out before the nationals.”
MORE MEDALS: Wainui surf athletes, above right, Jack Keepa (left) and Jonty Evans repeated their eastern regionals performance in the board rescue with another win at the northern regionals. Ava Smith, right, dominated the board race, winning both the open and u19 titles.
Pictures by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media