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Rising surf lifesaving star Daniel Moodie CREDIT: infonews.co.nz
Rising surf lifesaving star Madison Boon CREDIT: infonews.co.nz
Rising surf lifesaving star Madison Boon will be looking to sift a fair chunk of gold out of the sands of Gisborne's Midway Beach when the national championships begin on Friday.
Boon has spent the last four months living and training in Queensland, coached by Australian ironman legend Phil Clayton at the Kuwarra Club. The 18-year-old has been competing against the cream of Australia's ironwoman talent and hopes to use that experience for a notable double.
"I'd love to take out the under-19 and open ironwoman titles but with the big surf forecast for Gisborne this weekend, it may also come down to luck," Boon said.
The last and only time the open/under-19 double was achieved was in 2006, when Jamie-Lee Reynolds and Daniel Moodie created history in both the men's and women's ranks.
Boon also has some loftier goals on her horizon - she's using the New Zealand nationals as preparation for the Australian titles in Perth next week, while she also wants to vault into her first full national team.
"I'm doing the under-19 ironman race but I'm saving all my other individual races for the open agegroup because selectors are picking a New Zealand team for the World Games in July"
Boon finished third in the open ironwoman race as a 16-year-old two years ago in Gisborne, and was second last year to Hawke's Bay's New Zealand representative Nikki Cox.
Cox became the first woman to win the ski race, board race and ironman events at the same championships in Ohope last year, adding the double ski for good measure and also anchoring Westshore’s taplin team to victory, and the 24-year-old will again be a strong contender in Gisborne.
Moodie, meanwhile, will be gunning for his fourth open ironman crown. The 21-year-old has also switched his focus across the Tasman over the last 12 months, training and competing at the strong Northcliffe club in Queensland.
Another win in the glamour event of the national championships will take him level with former champions like Olympic kayaker Ian Ferguson and Waimairi's Geoff Walker, who both collected four national ironman titles in their illustrious careers.
Current New Zealand captain Glenn Anderson hasn't won a national ironman title since the last of his three consecutive wins in 2005 but he has set a new benchmark in his specialist surf race, winning his sixth title last year. He's also won the last three run/swim/run titles, although his preparations have been hampered by an ankle injury which kept him out of last month's Lion Foundation Surf League competition.
The other athlete on the verge of a remarkable streak is seemingly ageless beach sprinter Morgan Foster. He's still searching for his 10th beach flags win, with Taranaki's Paul Cracroft-Wilson preventing that milestone with victory in the last two years.
Foster did win the beach sprint title last year, however, and another win in the flags would put him alongside the likes of Cory Hutchings’ incredible 11 ironman titles or South Brighton paddler John Creighton’s eight ski titles.
While Creighton will again line up in the ski race this weekend, 16 years after he first won it, Hutchings will be coaching the host Midway club as they look to defend the overall club title they captured last year.