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Off to storm the Mount

Gisborne will be well represented across almost all events at the Eastern Regional Surf Life Saving Championships at Mt Maunganui this weekend.

Competition is due to start tomorrow afternoon.

Last year, Kaiaponi Farms Waikanae finished fifth on overall points, winning 12 titles. Riversun Wainui were seventh, on 42 points and eight titles, their best result at the Eastern Regional Championships (ERC).

Dawson Building Midway had a disappointing championships by their traditionally high standards. They finished 21st out of 34 competing clubs.

ERC spokesman Jackson Edwards said about 600 individuals had entered this year, which was on a par with previous years.

“We also have 40 boat-crews entered for the third round of their series, and we have doubled the entry this year in the beach events.”

The championships start at 3pm tomorrow, with the beach sprints, beach relays and double-ski events, and are scheduled to finish on Sunday afternoon.

“Surf-wise it looks like the swell could get up to 1.5 metres on Saturday, and the overhead weather conditions look beauty, with cross-shore winds,” Edwards said.

Waikanae head coach Cory Hutchings said they would look to get their weekend off to as strong a start as possible in the beach and double-ski events.

Waikanae would have 25 competitors in action this weekend.

“We have a team that's slightly smaller than we've had in the past, but all our top-quality competitors will be there.

“We are hoping for a strong performance.”

Their under-17 boys Lachie Falloon and Oska Smith should feature strongly, Hutchings said.

“Our under-19 girls are particularly strong, headed by the likes of Georgie Pitkethley on the board and Christy Tate on the ski.

“Briana Irving will be hard to beat again in her beach events, in both under-19 and open events.

“Some of our new members will be in action too, so it will be good to see how they go.”

Midway will have a team of 22 at the Mount this time, more than last year.

“We will be looking at a much better performance this weekend, and the larger group going over should achieve that,” head coach Matt Sutton said.

“Juniors like Jack Lepper and Sophie Petro will be hard to beat in the board and swim events in their under-15 age group.

“Danielle Scott will race again for us in the open women and she will be a contender in the craft events, on the board and ski,” he said.

“Andy Kinsella has done a lot of work with our ski paddlers, and people like Anna-Bell Matthews in the under-17s will be good.”

Wainui will have a dozen in their team.

“They should have a really good show in lots of events,” Wainui head coach Dion Williams said.

“We welcome back Jack Keepa, who has recovered from a shoulder injury he picked up last year.

“This will be Jack's first carnival of the season, but he looks like he is well and truly on the comeback trail.

“Ava Smith will be super-strong in her swim and board events.

“All of our team, right through from the under-17s to the open competitors, will be real contenders, and I'm excited about how they might all go this weekend.”

CONTENDERS: Gisborne surf lifeguards should produce golden performances at the Eastern Regional Surf Life Saving Championships at Mt Maunganui this weekend. Among them are Jack Lepper, of Midway, in the under-15 swim and craft events, Waikanae all-rounder Lachie Falloon (pictured above), and Ava Smith, of Wainui. Pictures by Paul Rickard
Ava Smith - Wainui.
Jack Lepper - Midway.