North Island BP IRB Champs 8 December 2007 – Oakura

The forecast was abysmal – rain – strong winds – cold – so we packed the termals into our hand luggage and flew down to Plymouth on the Friday night and took advantage of the last of the sun to take a long walk.

Saturday dawned overcast and cool as we drove to the beach and on arrival there was a glimpse of the sun. The competitors from the 19 clubs participating were already in full swing and were well into the tube rescue. Most unusual for Oakura there was a gentle “East Coast Ripple” of less than half a metre but which did increase at odd times during the day just to keep everyone on their toes.

As the day wore on the sun came out in full force and there was little sign of wind so the conditions were good for both East and West Coast teams. One of the members of the Orewa squad was an exchange lifeguard from the RNLI and by coincidence was part of the Polzeath (Cornwall) team competing in the UK Champs and remarked to one of the United lifeguards that he had seen Chris at those competitions. Small world. On the same topic we also met a RNLI lifeguard who is normally with Staunton Beach in Devon. Great to see such exchanges.

As the racing continued it became very clear within the Senior Division that there are a lot of up and coming clubs with all four events in the Senior divison being won by different crews. In the Premier Division there was close competition between Fitzroy and East End. In the Under 21s New Plymouth Old Boys were to the fore and in the Women’s Division the girls from Fitzroy shone out.

Events of particular note were:

The day went all too quickly and before we knew it we had to leave to catch the last plane back to Auckland and missed the prize giving. It was a great surprise to see that East End overcame Fiitzroy to take out the top club award. Well done to all concerned.

As usual the officials deserve a big thank you for making it all happen and also to Old Boys Club for hosting the event.

Glad to say the thermals were unnecessary and we both had a rosy glow around the cheeks.