Black Fins ready for SA
THEY’VE put in the hard work and now the Black Fins — including a strong contingent from Gisborne — are getting ready to fly to South Africa and freshening up ahead of the 2019 International Surf Rescue Challenge.
Matt Cairns, from Gisborne, is head coach and will be assisted by New Zealand surf lifesaving legend Cory Hutchings.
Midway club athlete Cory Taylor will captain the team and clubmate Olivia Corrin is also part of the 12-strong line-up.
The challenge is being held from September 28 to October 2 at North Beach, Durban.
The New Zealanders will fly out on Sunday, giving them a week to get used to the conditions and run through their final preparations.
They will have recovery sessions, get over their jet lag and take in some of the local culture, as well as tapering for the event.
Cairns, the Junior Black Fins coach in 2017-18, including a win at the world champs in Adelaide, is excited to bring the Black Fins together for the three-test series.
“I can’t wait to get over there with the team,” he said.
“It will be a massive challenge, but we are collectively up for it.
“We will hit the ground in Durban and have a few days settling in, with time to prepare well and experience a different culture.”
He said the team were going into the event with confidence.
Conditions could be tricky, however, and the competition will be tough.
“Some of the best surf athletes in the world will be there,” Cairns said.
The team had a great mix of youth and experience, he said.
“They’ve all prepared well.”
Taylor has been a key member of the Black Fins since 2014.
He is the world surf lifesaving board champion and last season won a round of the Nutri-Grain Ironman Series in Australia.
Corrin, too, is coming off success in endurance events.
This month, she became the first woman from Tairawhiti to qualify for the Nutri-Grain IronMan and IronWoman Series in Australia.
Corrin won two trial days held at Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast.
At stake in South Africa are three trophies — the ISRC Trophy, the Tri-nations Trophy and the Trans-Tasman Cup.
Beach sprinter and flags exponent Briana Irving will be in the Junior Black Fins, along with Waikanae clubmates Christy Tate (ski), Georgie Pitkethley (board), Lachie Falloon (ironman and board) and Seven Mapu (beach sprint and flags).
Cairns said he was surrounded by some of the best minds in the game.
“In my role, I am fortunate to have a bunch of experienced senior athletes to bounce ideas off. We also have an awesome management team who, along with the athletes, are committed to producing a team performance we are proud of.”