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The personnel may have changed but Titahi Bay's dominance of the national surf boat scene certainly hasn't.
Bolstered this season by trans-Atlantic rowing record-holder Jamie Fitzgerald, Titahi Bay edged out arch-rivals Piha in a tight final on their home waters today, in the first round of the national series.
National selectors were also using the event as the first of two trials to pick the crew that will represent New Zealand at the International Surf Challenge in Mount Maunganui in February, and today's calm, flat conditions gave them the perfect chance to see pure boat speed through the water.
Fitzgerald, who is also famous for walking unsupported to the South Pole in 2007 with fellow adventurer Kevin Biggar, has been back in a surf boat for the last two months with Titahi Bay, replacing Chris Martin who is now overseas.
But the core of the crew - sweep Paul McVicar, Ben Ashby, Tim Marsden and Dean Ellis - had more than enough experience to pip the Mark Bourneville-swept Piha crew by less than a boat length in the final. Mount Maunganui were third.
Mairangi Bay caused an upset in the women's final, edging out the favoured Mount Maunganui and Orewa crews, while the Piha Pistols continued their dominance of the under-23 division, heading home clubmates Piha Pirates and New Brighton.
Piha's dominance continued through the age-grades, also winning both the under-21 women's final and the under-19 men's final.
Open: Titahi Bay (Ben Ashby, Jamie Fitzgerald, Tim Marsden, Dean Ellis, Paul McVicar) 1, Piha (Matt Kirke, Craig Knox, Bruce O'Brien, Ben Scott, Mark Bourneville) 2, Mount Maunganui (Steve Rush, Richard Saunders, David Schumacher, Marty Wouters, Dan Matuschka) 3.
Under-23: Piha Pistols (Cedric Bourneville, Ludovik Bourneville, Albert Walker, Jean-Paul Smit, Mark Bourneville) Piha Pirates (Logan Flutey, Nicholas Mackenzie, Shamus O'Halloran, Jed Wright, Shane O'Halloran) 2, New Brighton (Ryan Bombay, Luke Hoddinott, Ian Jeffreys, Michael Lamb, Michael Kindred) 3.
Under-19: Piha (Theo Commissaris, Charlie Henderson, Cahon McCarthy, Hamish Mitchell, Mark Bourneville) 1, Titahi Bay (Isaac Cleland, Jamie Devitt, Shane Ellis, Arwyn Evans, Will McDowell) 2, Paekakariki (Sam Blair, Luke Tomlinson, Steven Dickson) 3.
Open: Mairangi Bay (Rochelle Haden, Simone Johnson, Sarah Woolley, Rob Jones) 1, Mount Maunganui (Chelan Garnham, Isabella Obermiller, Megan Scott, Hannah Taylor, Dan Matuschka) 2, Orewa (Amanda Jones, Nicole Jones, Brearna Franich, Natassia Randell, Mark McCarthny) 3.
Under-21: Piha (Audrey-Lise Bourneville, Claudie Goff, Alice Rasmussen, Phil Mason) 1, Bethells Beach (David Oldham) 2, Rarangi (Katie Burnett, Bridgit Hart, Taylor Rogers, Danielle Sutherland, Ellen Taylor-Byrne, Norma-Jean Tyson, Neil Watts) 3.