Party time for Titahi Bay paddlers
McDowells to the fore
Two of New Zealand’s most prestigious surf lifesaving trophies now sit in the Titahi Bay clubrooms after a gripping finish to the national championships in Gisborne over the weekend.
National K1 1000m kayaking star Marty McDowell got things rolling by winning the open men’s ski race at Midway Beach.
Then the club’s open men’s boat crew provided the crowning touch with victory in the long-course final.
It was the 18th time since 1959 the club has captured the title, although victories in the past few years have been sparse, with arch-rivals Piha winning four in a row.
The screams of jubilation showed just how much it meant as sweep Wil McDowell steered the Titahi Bay boat down a small wave and past Piha on the line.
‘‘It means so much – it’s just been too long between titles for Titahi Titahi Bay’s 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.’’
McDowell’s older brother, Marty, meanwhile, didn’t leave things to chance, pulling clear in the ski race to collect his fourth open title, ahead of Mairangi Bay pair Kevin Morrison and Travis Mitchell.
‘‘I knew it was going to be a hard race and I had to work so hard just to get out in front, to turn that first can and get the first run off the apex,’’ McDowell said.
‘‘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 looking forward to getting back and having another go next year.’’
the Bay,’’ Chris
looming threat of the remnants of Cyclone Pam, there was little in the way of wave assistance for competitors on the final day.
It meant Omanu’s Max Beattie had to claim his third New Zealand ironman title in familiar style, using a sprint up the beach to dethrone his New Zealand team- mate and defending champion Cory Taylor, continuing a growing trend of tight finishes between the pair.
Australian Kristyl Smith took out the ironwoman final, after a strong swim leg put her out in front of Kiwis Devon Halligan and Danielle McKenzie.
Halligan claimed the New Zealand title ahead of McKenzie.
Mt Maunganui’s overall domination continued, winning the open men’s taplin and dominating the under16 boys’ arena, as well as picking up canoe titles.
The Bay of Plenty club finished on a massive 213 points, more than double that of second-placed Midway (104).