Masters of the waves
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.
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.