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Gisborne clubbies part of exciting new event

A STACK of the district’s top young surf lifeguards will blow out the competitive cobwebs for the 2020-2021 season in two events at Whangamata this weekend.

They will compete in the traditional Whangamata Classic interclub event tomorrow and will then be part of an invitational event on Sunday.

In the Sunday event, the athletes will be put into a pool of 120 from which coaches will pick the competitors for eight teams.

Event spokesman Zac Franich said the intention for the team event was to attract the best available surf sports talent in New Zealand to provide a high-level racing experience.

“Eight teams of 12 (six male, six female) will compete in a team-based programme covering all disciplines.

“The teams will have no age restrictions and they will be led by a selection of the country’s best coaches and team managers,” Franich said.

Gisborne’s Cory Hutchings, who recently took up the role of Surf Life Saving NZ’s water sport coach, said the new event was a great idea.

“Anything to keep the youngsters motivated. It’s great for the kids to race with others from other areas, not just from their own district,” Hutchings said.

“We need to create events that the kids want to do.”

Kaiaponi Farms Waikanae will have the likes of beach sprinters Seven Mapu and Briana Irving involved, along with Lachie Falloon, Georgie Pitkethley and Christy Tate in the water events.

Riversun Wainui will have Jonty Evans, Jay Ryan, Eva Klavs and Ava Smith in action in swim and craft events.

Jack Keepa will be missing from their line-up as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury.

Dawson Building Midway will have a team of 16 competing.

“It’s a good group, with some competing for the first time and others who have been around for a while,” said head coach Matt Sutton.

“I expect to see the likes of Sophie Petro, Jess Fearnley and Jacob Corrin perform well.”