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Glenn Anderson has now won six titles at the Lion Foundation Surf League but the Taranaki surf lifesaver rates his latest one as the most dominant of all.
Taranaki swept to a third consecutive title at the two-day interprovincial carnival in Mount Maunganui today, collecting 265.5 points, putting them more than 45 points clear of second-placed Hawke’s Bay.
They won nine of the 19 events on the final day alone, leaving New Zealand team veteran Anderson with an imposing streak. He’s now been in teams that have won the last five titles – including 2007 with Gisborne and 2008 with Bay of Plenty – but has no doubt where this one stands.
“This was easily the best team performance I’ve been involved in - it’s a good feeling being surrounded by such great athletes,” Anderson said. “This was different for me – I felt I was playing more of a supporting role this time whereas in the past, I’d be trying to lead the way in the surf race and ironman. I’m really proud of how they all raced.”
Taranaki’s stars included sprinter Paul Cracroft-Wilson, who won the beach flags both days, and swimmer Dylan Dunlop-Barrett, who was imperious in the surf race and tube rescue with another star swimmer, Charlotte Webby.
World champion IRB driver Andrew Cronin lead a clean-sweep in the motorised craft races, while Taranaki emphasised their total dominance by winning the event-ending Dearlove relay.
Hawke’s Bay also produced a consistent performance, made more remarkable by the absence of New Zealand ironman champion Daniel Moodie, who injured his hand in training last week.
Nikki Cox stepped up instead, winning the ironwoman title on the first day and only pipped by New South Wales competitor Tara Coleman in a sprint up the beach today.
“That’s the best finish I can remember at the Surf League so it was a good team effort,” Cox said. “We didn’t have any idea of the points until the end of the day so we just kept racing hard at each event, which was a good attitude to go in with.”
New South Wales finished ahead of Bay of Plenty on the overall table with 210 points, while the hosts collected 203 over the weekend.
The event brought to a close the nine-day Festival of Surf Sports in Mount Maunganui, which included the Northern Regional championships, the three-test DHL International Surf Challenge and the Lion Foundation Surf League.