Olympic rower James Dallinger is picking up the oars again on Friday, only this time he'll be tackling the waves of Whangamata rather than a calm lake.
The world champion coxless four squad member is rejoining the Piha crew for the second round of the New Zealand surf boat series at the Coromandel holiday spot.
Since coming back from Beijing, the 23-year-old has qualified for his surf lifesaving bronze and helped the Piha crew win the European championship in September.
"James fitted in so nicely at Biarritz that all the crew are looking forward to his return at Whangamata," Piha sweep Mark Bournville said.
"He's rowing for Piha for the season and is keen as hell to get himself into big surf such as he saw in Biarritz."
Dallinger strengthens the Piha squad already on top in the series after winning the first round in Wellington in November, heading current national champions Titahi Bay and fending off strong performances by Red Beach and Mount Maunganui crews.
Whangamata's traditionally strong crew should also fare well on their home beach, while Mairangi Bay have also shown strong improvement.
In the women's division, Mount Maunganui started the season in dominant fashion, not dropping a race in the first round, although Titahi Bay's female crew are also coming into form.
Piha also boast strong depth in the agegroup ranks, where their under-19 Piha Pistols crew currently lead the under-21 rankings.
Nearly 40 crews are competing in Whangamata, with racing beginning at midday.
For more information, please contact Mark Weatherall, SLSNZ sport manager on 027 233 4014.