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Waikanae out in front

POINTS ON THE BOARD: Lachie Falloon and Emma Brownlie, of Waikanae, win the under-19 mixed double ski in the opening phase of competition in the Gisborne Surf Lifesaving Championships, which started yesterday afternoon at Midway Beach. The championships continued today. Pictures by Paul Rickard
CONCENTRATION: Alex Bermingham (left) and Emily Willock, of Midway, focus on the task in hand as they win the open women’s double ski.
EASING TO VICTORY: Jenna Robertson and Quaid Thompson, of Waikanae, win the open mixed double ski.


WAIKANAE took a healthy lead into the main day of the Gisborne Surf Lifesaving Championships today when they scored 15 titles last night in the opening phase of competition at Midway Beach.

Kaiaponi Farms Waikanae amassed 127 points across the double ski, canoe, tube and board rescue events. The racing was held in small surf conditions.

They looked poised for a sixth successive Ralph Morse Memorial Shield victory heading into today’s full day of competition.

Only one point separated Waikanae and Dawson Building Midway last year but Midway had a lot of catching up to do today after they recorded 76 points last night, winning nine titles along the way.

“We left 10 to 15 points out there that we should have picked up — we had several disqualifications — which was disappointing,” Midway head coach Matt Sutton said.

“Having said that, we had some good performances.”

The margin between Midway and competition leaders Waikanae would be tough to pull back, he said.

“Unfortunately, the way the age groups in the championships are structured this year, without under-15 team events, it’s going to be hard for Midway to win.

“But we’ve still got some good races ahead of us today, and the kids are good to go.”

Sutton said they would focus on tidying up a few things ahead of the Eastern Regional Championships at the end of the month.

Waikanae team manager Michelle Mitchell said they could not afford to be complacent today.

“We were that far ahead last year, so we’ve got to pull finger and compete well today,” she said.

“All the athletes know they have to step up and do as many races as they can to keep us ahead.

“They need to perform to their best ability, in testing, choppy, and cold conditions.”

Riversun Wainui, with a small team, scored 16 points last night and won a couple of titles.

Waikanae dominated the double-ski events, taking five of the six titles.

Honours were shared more evenly between the two city clubs in the short-course and run-canoe-run events.

Waikanae took out both u19 female titles, the open male and u19 male short-course, and both open male run-canoe-run events.

Midway crews won the open women’s run-canoe-run and short-course titles, and the u19 men’s run-canoe-run.

Wainui did not compete in the canoe this year.

All three clubs enjoyed success in the board rescues.

Waikanae’s Georgie Pitkethley and Lauren Pickett won the open women’s event, Midway’s Jodiesha Kirkpatrick and Sophie Petro won the u17 title, and their clubmates Chris Dawson and Matt Sutton won the open men’s event.

Waikanae’s Clayden Hope and Nathan Proctor crossed first in the u19 men’s race, Wainui’s Ava Smith and Hannah-Jayne King won the u19 women’s event, and their clubmates Hue Cowie and Jonty Evans won the u17 men’s race.

In the tube rescue, the titles were shared, with three to Midway and three to Waikanae.