Mas­ters of the waves

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

If more proof was needed that Ti­tahi Bay’s top men’s surf boat crew is the best in the busi­ness, huge wins in two re­cent com­pe­ti­tions cer­tainly pro­vided it.

While they are dom­i­nant in New Zealand, reg­u­larly see­ing off the best teams from the likes of Piha, Paekakariki and Whanga­mata, the crew of Ben Ashby, Dean El­lis, Jamie Fitzger­ald, Tim Marsden and Paul McVicar un­der­lined their cre­den­tials in the In­ter­na­tional Surf Boat Chal­lenge held at Mt Maun­ganui from Jan­uary 31 to Fe­bru­ary 4.

Ti­tahi Bay put their coun­try’s pride on the line, tak­ing on the best crews from Aus­tralia and Great Bri­tain.

The Ki­wis had knocked over their trans-Tas­man foes in Bris­bane this time last year.

Marsden says the surf was flat, mak­ing it ‘‘a drag race’’ over the three days of competition. Ti­tahi Bay won 2-1 over Aus­tralia each day, mak­ing them com­fort­able over­all win­ners.

They were con­fi­dent of be­ing the fastest crew and all their train­ing and plan­ning fell into place.

‘‘We just got bet­ter lines than the Aussies – it was al­ways go­ing to be tight but things like be­ing sharper at the starts re­ally helped us and we gelled, work­ing as a unit.

‘‘ We got away and held onto our leads, when they [Aus­tralia] beat us it was right on the fin­ish line,’’ Marsden said.

The cherry on top was tak­ing out the North Is­land Surf Boat champs in Waihi on Fe­bru­ary 5, beat­ing Piha A and B to the line.

Two events re­main on the sum­mer calendar – the Welling­ton champs, to be held at Ti­tahi Bay this Sun­day, be­fore na­tion­als in Christchurch on the week­end of March 12 and 13.

Photo: MARK DWYER

Pure emo­tion: The hard work has paid div­i­dends, with Ti­tahi Bay sweep Paul McVicar roar­ing his ap­proval fol­low­ing his crew’s vic­tory on day three of the In­ter­na­tional Surf Boat Chal­lenge.

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