Tight finish as juniors battle rough seas at Omaha

Rough conditions made for challenging junior surf champs and caused events to be cut short on Sunday.

Red Beach Surf Life Saving Club came out on top at a stormy Surf Life Saving Northern Region (SLSNR) Junior Championships at Omaha on February 3 and 4.

The event saw over 330 juniors hit the water coming from as far as Ruakaka and Whakatane.

Red Beach finished the weekend with 119 points, followed by Mairangi Bay on 100 points and Orewa on 93 points, while Omaha struggled, finishing last with three points.

Red Beach chair Dylan Turner says it was pleasing to get a result with some close competition.

“In the past, Red Beach has dominated a number of these events, but this year it was extremely tight and there wasn’t much between the top teams,” Dylan says.

“You have to give credit to all of the teams competing who have really set the standard at a very high level.”

The event was a first for new SLSNR sport manager Lewis McClintock, who was pleased with his first outing.

“Omaha was a great venue to host the champs despite a real mixed bag of weather across the
weekend,” he says.

Lewis previously was Auckland Rugby community rugby manager and worked for the body for seven years.

“Much like the rugby, I’ve already seen how important volunteers are in organising events like this one, and it’s important to provide them with the resources they need to have a successful event.

“One big difference is that surf events need a lot of people on the ground to keep juniors safe in the water. We need to retain that buy-in from helpers.”

Lewis aspires to improve advancement opportunities for juniors and increase the number of lifeguards coming through.

“It’s important that juniors know how to progress with surf lifesaving as they become adults. A lot of organisations lose numbers through that transition period.

“We also have a requirement to grow the number of lifeguards we produce to match the increasing number of beach goers in the northern region.”

Finlay Walker was Omaha’s only competitor to place, coming first in the U12 men’s beach sprint.

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