BP IRB Championships Whangamata
1-3 APRIL 2011

With over 100 teams present – very fitting for the celebration of 100 years of Surf Live Saving Volunteers. Great to see some of the clubs who do not have a high profile in racing such as Pauanui, Piha's two new teams, Kaka Point from the deep South,Wanganui, Waikanae, Palmerston North and Orewa to name but a few. Also the re-emergence of Spencer Park, Kariotahi and Omanu Beach. And of course the 40 teams from East End must be the biggest ever.

Whangamata is such a great beach for competitions as it is very even for the competitors, with surf varying between 1 – 2 metres. Sun and cloudy intervals prevailed. The beach was humming as can be imagined with all the competitors plus spectators who were quite enthralled by the proceedings. The choppy surf conditions making forward progress a challenge at times but it was good to see several clubs have mastered the Chris/Jargon technique. See picks of Widgets just after impact.

This atmosphere must have been a tonic for Sumner, Spencer Park, North Beach and Taylors Mistake after the earthquake in Christchurch and everyone was glad to see them there. Racing in all divisions was nail bitingly close – just as well New Zealand has electronic gates because it would be so difficult, if not nigh impossible, if the judges on the start finish line had to rely on line of sight& video replays.

Competition was also tight between the women's teams whose numbers are increasing each year and the Fitzroy Ladies were convincing winners as has been the case in the past. The East End Club were outstanding – particularly Andrew Cronin, James Morwood and Emma Cronin proving themselves worthy of their title of World Champions. However they didn't have all their own way having been beaten in the Open Teams race by the other Premier East End crew of Mitchell Gregg and Scott Nelson.

We must not, not of course forget the Masters who gave us so much entertainment culminating in Mount Maunganui represented by Cribbie/Chook and Fergus Rieger taking the honours.

Although East End were the overall winners with a massive 90 points the rest of the top five were very close. The Arancia Trophy of course was won by East End. Surf Life Saving's 100 years of Life Saving happily coincided with Arancia producing their 1000th IRB and we thought it would be fitting that this should be presented at this event, the names of all participating clubs being put in the hat. Taylors Mistake from earthquake ravished Christchurch was the lucky club, we left themsitting on the side of Hull No 1000 looking a bit dazed. We wish Taylors Mistake & other Christchurch Clubs damaged in the shocking recent earthquakes a speedy recovery, your participation in this very special 100 years of Lifeguarding Event was an inspiration to us all.

Action photos can be viewed under Competition Photos or on Vince Pols site http://www.Orange74.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=25332

Chris & John Speight
2011