The Port Waikato club have been dominant in the sport over the past three seasons, including last year’s event at Oakura Beach and the previous year at Waipu Cove.
While the weather presented athletes with some challenging racing conditions, including a hard chop mixed with a residual swell from earlier in the week, the 42 crews from 15 clubs (including two from the South Island) showed their experience in manoeuvring the waves.
Events included the Assembly Rescue, Mass Rescue, Tube Rescue, Single Rescue and Teams Race across the Open Men (10 crews), Open Women (11 crews), Under 22 Men (11 crews) and Under 19 Men (10 crews) divisions.
Sunset Beach took out the overall event comfortably with 139 points followed by Taranaki’s East End (89) with Auckland’s Mairangi Bay in third (45). Waipu Cove (28) and Bethells Beach (25) rounded out the top five.
Event manager Johnny Clough says Sunset Beach were the favourites heading into the event having dominated IRB racing in past seasons under the leadership of Shane Edwards who has been instrumental in developing a successful programme both at club and regional level. “This was further demonstrated by the Sunset Beach Open Women’s crew of Taylor Shrimpton and Jemima Ferrier with a clean sweep of their division, coming away with four gold medals.”
March 10 will see the BP South Island IRB Championships taking place at Warrington Beach near Dunedin, leading into the 2018 BP New Zealand IRB Championships which will be held at Waihi Beach from April 7-8.
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