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NZ Surf Lifesaving Championships 2024: A spectacle of skill and bravery

The anticipation builds as the New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Championships, “The Nationals,” returns to the stunning shores of Mount Maunganui.

From Thursday, 14 to Sunday, 17 March, this annual display of skill and bravery will once again grace the sands of Mount Maunganui Main Beach, showcasing the nation’s most talented surf lifeguards and representing true community spirit.

With deep roots in the Tauranga community, the event holds significant family and generational history, serving as a testament to the enduring bond between Tauranga and its oceanic heritage. Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service, current champions, will also have the opportunity to defend their title on home ground.

Nelita Byrne, Venues and Events Manager at Tauranga City Council, is excited Tauranga has the opportunity to host such a pivotal event and underscores the city’s commitment to supporting it through the Tauranga Western Bay Community Events Fund.

“We are thrilled to welcome New Zealand’s finest surf lifeguards to our city,” says Byrne.

“This event not only showcases their exceptional sporting prowess but also reinforces our connection to the ocean, underscores the importance of water safety, and acknowledges the invaluable service these individuals provide to our community.”

Over 1,300 surf lifeguards from clubs across the nation, including well-known competitors Olivia Corrin, Joe Collins, and Cory Taylor, are expected to converge on Mount Maunganui, ready to showcase their surf rescue skills, athleticism, and determination in a series of rigorous competitions.

From surf swims to board races, ski paddling to beach sprints, and the iconic four-person surf boats and canoes, participants will push themselves to the limit, competing for the title of National Champion.

This year is a historic milestone as Tauranga hosts both the Oceans and Nationals events, marking a proud legacy for the city. The intergenerational aspect of surf lifesaving becomes apparent throughout these events, as competitors ranging from young first-time competitors to seasoned veterans come together, united by their passion for the ocean and the sport.

As the excitement for the national competition builds, the community hub nestled at the base of Hopukiore (Mount Drury) is poised to become a focal point for spectators and participants alike.

With a huge screen displaying the live surf lifesaving action and its convenience to food trucks and great local cafes, the hub will be the place to be during the event and the community is encouraged to come to the hub or the beach and show their support for the dedicated surf lifeguards who safeguard New Zealand’s shores.

The Tauranga Western Bay Community Events Fund (TWBCEF) are proud supporters of the New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Championships once again in 2024. Established through a collaborative effort between the Acorn Foundation, Bay Trust, TECT, Tauranga City Council, and Western Bay of Plenty District Council, the TWBCEF champions grassroots initiatives, ensuring the broader community reaps the rewards of such events.


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