The biggest and the best ever and the credit for this must go to the unsung heroes – those dedicated officials who worked all day without a break to make the event successful. We thank each and every one you and of course Maree, Jaime and Mark Weatherall.

32 Clubs and 109 Teams – when we arrived on Saturday morning from the airport all you could see was a sea – nay an ocean – of lifesavers. It brought a lump to the throat. The surf was about 2 metres and quite challenging especially for the under 21s. Because of the large number of entries there were lots of heats to get through before the tide was fully out. At least at Oakura you could move from one part of the beach to another and get extra time. There were lots of thrills and spills mainly because crews were not using the foot straps and even the patient boats were not exempt!!!

Sunday was very exciting with all the semi finals and then the finals with Fitzroy, East End and Wainui running neck to neck. The reintroduction of the Masters Class was great with all the diehards competing. It was also good to see the resurgence of Mount Maunganui which must be due to the example of chook and Cribby who told us they thought they might go back into Prems next year – must be too young (at heart) for the Masters!

Excitement was buzzzzzzzzzing as the finals were run and it became evident that there was only a whisker between Fitzroy and East End but we would have to wait for prize giving for the result.

The outcome was that East End came out on top winning medals in every division and the Top Club BP Award as well as the Arancia Trophy. Fitzroy gave them a standing ovation and when Andrew thanked everyone for coming to East End's aid following the loss of their engines it really was moving.

It may have been the largest Nationals ever but the camaraderie between the clubs and competitors was even greater. We are so proud of the sportsmanship which exists within the movement by the volunteer lifeguards.

We can't wait for next season ........................

Chris Speight