Mighty Mounties claim sixth Alan Gardner Trophy

Nick Wilson (right) and Sam Roy celebrate their under-19 canoe double at the national surf lifesaving champs in Gisborne.  Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services
Nick Wilson (right) and Sam Roy celebrate their under-19 canoe double at the national surf lifesaving champs in Gisborne. Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services

Mount Maunganui’s surf lifesaving dynasty shows no sign of abating, after storming to their third consecutive overall points win at the AquaPick New Zealand surf lifesaving championships in Gisborne today.
It’s the sixth time the Bay of Plenty club has won the Alan Gardner Trophy in the last nine years and this win was by far the most comprehensive.
The 213 points they accumulated over three days is believed to be the most-ever, easily eclipsing the 176 they gathered last year.
After starting the final day 69 points ahead of hosts Midway, the Mount team wasted no time in pulling even further ahead.
Their final-day tally was boosted by winning the open men’s taplin and dominating the under-16 boys arena, where young stars Hamish Miller, Daniel Barron, Isaac Marshall and Morgan Brocklesby seemed to lead a yellow and black tide.
Mount also won three titles in the canoe arena, including a double for the under-19 men, while Jess Miller and Charlie Haynes added individual under-19 wins and Perry Farrell continuing his outstanding consistency.
Elsewhere, Max Beattie continued the great carnival for Bay of Plenty clubs by claiming his third national ironman title in familiar style.
The Gold Coast-based Omanu star edged his New Zealand teammate and defending champion Cory Taylor by mere inches after a dramatic final sprint on Midway Beach, continuing a growing trend of tight finishes between the pair.
Beattie, the cousin of New Zealand 100m track star Joseph Millar, won his first title in 2012 in exactly the same fashion, then pipped Taylor in the 25km Mount Monster endurance race just before Christmas.
“I guess I’ve got some aunts and uncles to thank for my speed because Cory and I have definitely got into the habit of sprint-finishes lately,” a jubilant Beattie said. “He’s an phenomenal ironman and probably nearly deserved the win today himself but I jumped onto a runner on that final ski leg and tried to slow my breathing and heart-rate down a little because I knew it was going to end up in a foot-race.”
Despite the looming threat of the remnants of Cyclone Pam, there was little in the way of wave assistance on the final day, with Taylor, Beattie and Australian Tanyn Lyndon locked in a battle throughout the opening board leg and into the swim.
Taylor appeared to make his decisive move in the ski leg, before Beattie summoned one last burst to draw level heading into the beach.
“I didn’t know if it was Max or Tanyn coming for me at the end but then I saw the yellow tip of Max’s ski edge into view and just thought ‘here we go again’,” Midway’s Taylor said. “I’m obviously a bit disappointed but I was happy with how the race went.”
Another Australian, Kristyl Smith, took out the ironwoman final, after a strong swim leg took her out in front of Kiwis Devon Halligan and Danielle McKenzie. Halligan claimed the New Zealand title ahead of McKenzie, although Smith was wary of a quality field.
“The competition has been awesome and I’ve really had to put my head down in each race,” Smith said. “Natalie Peat is on fire, Devon’s going great and Danielle McKenzie is the best board paddler in the world at the moment, while I’ve had a couple of really close battles with Devon over the years, so it was great to come out on top.”
Halligan won the board race, out-sprinting Smith and McKenzie, while Papamoa’s Peat won the surf race.
The undoubted female star of the carnival, however, was one of the youngest athletes competing. Midway’s Olivia Corrin, at just 14, walked away with 10 gold medals from the three days, including a gold in the open board relay and a bronze in the open board rescue with Halligan.
She should’ve added the under-16 diamond lady crown to that extensive list but was disqualified yesterday after her handler forgot to wear a club cap.
New Zealand selectors, who later added her to the national development squad, requested she be allowed to race the final and she promptly won, though the title went to second-placed finisher Grace Kaihau (Orewa).
“I wasn’t sure about going into the final after getting DQ’ed yesterday – I knew I wouldn’t be racing for a medal but I raced to know where I stood in the field,” Corrin explained. “(Midway surf legend) Benny Hutchings told me it would be like candy without the wrapper – I could win the race but not get the silverware to prove it, but at least I’d know what I was capable of. Plus there’s always next time.”
Beattie also claimed the board race title, while Titahi Bay kayaker Marty McDowell collected his fourth open men’s ski title, pulling away from Mairangi Bay pair Kevin Morrison and Travis Mitchell.
“I tried for a long time to win this race and it took a while but now I’ve got a taste for it – I’m really looking forward to getting back and having another go next year,” McDowell said.
Arch-rivals Piha and Titahi Bay shared the spoils in the open men’s surf boat arena, although Titahi Bay ended a five-year drought by winning the feature long-course final, ending Piha’s four-year domination.
“It means so much – it’s just been too long between titles for Titahi Bay,” Titahi Bay’s Chris Middleton said. “It’s just unreal and an incredible feeling, especially to beat Piha in a close race like that. They’ve had an amazing streak and even though we’re fierce rivals, we seem to bring the best out in each other.”
Piha won their fifth short-course final in the last six years, however, and had further consolation in the open women’s long-course final, where their top crew beat home Red Beach and Muriwai.

A number of Mount athletes were also included in the national squad announced following the carnival:

New Zealand Open Squad:

  1. Max Beattie                  Omanu
  2. Paul Cracroft-Wilson     Fitzroy
  3. Chris Dawson               Midway
  4. Karina Doyle                 St Clair
  5. Olivia Eaton                  Mt Maunganui
  6. Devon Halligan             Midway
  7. Kodi Harman                 Papamoa
  8. Teneale Hatton             Piha
  9. Chanelle Hickman         Mairangi Bay
  10. Zoe Hobbs                    Fitzroy
  11. Jake Hurley                   Mairangi Bay
  12. Ben Johnston                Papamoa
  13. Steve Kent                    Titahi Bay
  14. Samantha Lee               Lyall Bay
  15. Marty McDowall              Titahi Bay
  16. Danielle Mckenzie          Mairangi Bay
  17. Andy McMillan                St Clair
  18. Kevin Morrison               Mairangi Bay
  19. Andrew Newton             Mt Maunganui
  20. Natalie Peat                   Papamoa
  21. Laura Quilter                  Wainui
  22. Emma Robinson            Lyall Bay
  23. Matthew Scott               Midway
  24. Adam Simpson              Mt Maunganui
  25. Cory Taylor                    Midway
  26. Andrew Trembath          St Clair

Coaches: Jason Pocock
Manager: Mark Weatherall

Development Squad:

  1. Daniel Barron                Mt Maunganui
  2. Kelsi Boocock               Red Beach
  3. Baydon Botha               Mairangi Bay
  4. Libby Bradley                Mt Maunganui
  5. Maia Bryant                  Papamoa
  6. Lewis Clareburt             Lyall Bay
  7. Ben Cochrane               Omanu
  8. Rebecca Cole                Fitzroy
  9. Olivia Corrin                   Midway
  10. Mitch Cowdrey               Papamoa
  11. Ella Drinnan                  Orewa
  12. Perry Farrell                  Mt Maunganui
  13. Casie Fyall                    Waikanae
  14. Ryan Gilmour                Piha
  15. Jake Hales                   Papamoa
  16. Taris Harker                 Omanu
  17. Kurtis Imrie                   Paekakariki
  18. Seb Johnson                Sumner
  19. Grace Kaihau               Orewa
  20. Madison Kidd                Papamoa
  21. Javon McCallum           Fitzroy
  22. Briar McLeey                 Red Beach
  23. Hamish Millar                Mt Maunganui
  24. Jessica Miller                Mt Maunganui
  25. Stefah Powney              Orewa
  26. Zac Reid                       Fitzroy
  27. Kane Sefton                  Mt Maunganui
  28. Jasmine Smith              Wainui
  29. Brittany Tucker             Sumner
  30. Sophie Twigley             Midway
  31. Nico Van Der Wilt         Lyall Bay
  32. Dylan Williams              Mt Maunganui
  33. Hannah Williams           Piha
  34. Alicia Wilson                 Mt Maunganui

Photo by Jamie Troughton Dscribe Media Services info@dscribe.co.nz Photo by Jamie Troughton Dscribe Media Services info@dscribe.co.nzPhoto by Jamie Troughton Dscribe Media Services info@dscribe.co.nz Photo by Jamie Troughton Dscribe Media Services info@dscribe.co.nz Photo by Jamie Troughton Dscribe Media Services info@dscribe.co.nz Photo by Jamie Troughton Dscribe Media Services info@dscribe.co.nz

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