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World’s Top Surf Lifesaving Athletes Gear Up For New Zealand Championships In Tauranga

Some of the world’s top surf lifesaving athletes will be soon be heading to Tauranga for the country’s biggest surf lifesaving event.

The 2024 New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Championships provide surf lifeguards with the opportunity to compete against each other in a range of surf lifesaving disciplines.

Taking place on Mount Maunganui Beach from 14 – 17 March, this year will see over 1,370 athletes participating from 47 Surf Life Saving clubs, including Kiwi stars Joe Collins, Cory Taylor, and Olivia Corrin.

Corrin, who is based on the Gold Coast in Australia, is originally from Gisborne’s Midway Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) and says she can’t wait to come home. “Mount Maunganui is one of my favourite beaches in New Zealand, so I’m excited to race there this year. Along with doing well in my individual races, I’m also really looking forward to teaming up with some of the next generation of Midway SLSC girls who are super talented.”

The 2023/2024 season has been a defining one for Corrin, as she became the first New Zealand woman to win a round at the Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series in Australia.

“It was something I’d been working towards my whole life, and for it to come true was just an unbelievable experience. It definitely took a good week for it to sink in.”

She says the New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Championships is a key date on her calendar, especially with the Lifesaving World Championships coming up later this year which will be held in Australia.

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“A huge goal of mine is to be selected for the Black Fins team to represent New Zealand over on the Gold Coast. That would be an awesome opportunity. So, if I can put together some great results over the weekend, I can hopefully look forward to racing at Worlds later in the year.”

Along with top Kiwi lifesaving stars, international athletes will also be heading to Tauranga.

Matt Cairns, SLSNZ National Events Manager, said, “The competition is a fantastic way for us to bring together New Zealand athletes. However, we’re also lucky to have surf lifeguards coming from around the world, including Australia, France, and the UK. Surf Life Saving is a global movement, and when we’re not sharing research and ideas on how to keep beachgoers safe, we’re competing against each other.”

The event will be broken up into 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, “Competitions, like the Surf Lifesaving Championships have a long and proud history, and they continue to play a significant role in ensuring that our members have the ability and passion to meet the challenging environments in which surf lifeguards volunteer. We see these events as exciting ways for them to stay on top of their game, so when you get into trouble on the beach, surf lifeguards are fit and capable of helping you.”

The Surf Lifesaving Championships first started in 1915 in Napier and have since been held in a number of different locations around the country.

Nelita Byrne, Manager Venues and Events, Tauranga City Council, said, “We’re proud to be playing hosts to the Surf Lifesaving Championships. It’s an iconic event that showcases the incredible skills, determination, and bravery of surf lifeguards.

"Mount Maunganui Beach provides an ideal setting, and with the competition spanning four days, spectators can expect some thrilling action. The community can also enjoy the vibe at the Hub at Hopkiore (Mt Drury), with a large screen showcasing the action on the water, food trucks, and nearby cafes and bars for a complete experience within walking distance of the beach."

A welcome ceremony will kick off proceedings on Thursday, 14 November at 7:30am before athletes take to the start line for what will be an exciting competition with some of the world’s best surf lifeguards competing.

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, and McLeod Cranes, Hiab and Transport Services.

© Scoop Media

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