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Day One – NZ Surf Life Saving Championships

Calm conditions on the first day of the country’s largest lifesaving sports event set the stage for some intense racing in Tauranga.

Taking place from 14 – 17 March on Mount Maunganui Beach, the 2024 New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Championships will see over 1,370 athletes participating from 47 Surf Life Saving clubs.

Matt Cairns, Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) National Events Manager, said, “This is New Zealand’s premier surf lifesaving event, with surf lifeguards not only coming from all around New Zealand but also from Australia, France, and the UK.”

This year, Te Kapa Haka o Tūtara Kauika ki Rangataua opened the event alongside representatives from Ngai Tukairangi, SLSNZ and Tauranga City Council.

Cairns said, “It was a beautiful and fitting way to kick off proceedings. We feel privileged to be able to hold the event here. Mount Maunganui is a fantastic venue, and the Surf Life Saving community has a real connection with the area as it’s surrounded by beautiful beaches that many of our surf lifeguards patrol during the summer season.”

The Surf Lifesaving Championships are broken up in U15, U17, U19, Open, and Masters age groups, with events including Beach Flags, Board Race, Ironman/Ironwoman, Surf Boat, Canoe Race, and Tube Rescue.

Cairns said, “After months of planning it’s fantastic to be standing down on the beach watching the surf lifeguards in their element. Today we saw some great racing both in the surf and on the beach, with the Masters successfully completing their competitions.

“The weather has cooperated with overcast but fine and calm conditions. While this means minimal surf for athletes, it does make for some intense, high-speed racing which is exciting to watch.”

Metservice is forecasting plenty of sunshine for Mount Maunganui, particularly on Saturday and Sunday, and Cairns is encouraging locals and tourists to come and check out the action.

“We’ve set up a community hub at the base of Hopukiore (Mount Drury) which has a huge screen displaying the lifesaving action. There are also food trucks and great local cafes and bars all within walking distance.”

For those following the events, the Waves Results App provides real-time updates. Event merchandise is also available for purchase through NZ Uniforms.

SLSNZ would like to thank the following event partners who make the New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Championships possible: Tauranga City Council, Tauranga Western Bay Community Event Fund, NZ Uniforms, Race One Surf Craft, Sonic Surf Craft, Just Sheds, PTS Logistics, Brandt, NES Hire, and McLeod Cranes, Hiab and Transport Services.

 

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