After 181,000 hours of beach patrols and 967 rescues so far this summer - 1230 Surf Lifeguards will gather in Gisborne this week to compete in the State New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championship.
The four day event will commence on Thursday and comprise more than 100 disciplines across a diverse range of age groups to determine the top Surf Life Saving Club in the country. Over 40 clubs will battle it out for top club honours with competitors ranging in age from 15 to 82-years-old.
"Our membership is diverse in that we often have several generations of members competing in this event. This year our youngest competitor is 15-years-old, with our most senior participant competing in our masters event at the age of 82 - both members are active in patrols and sport events and encapsulate the spirit of our great organisation" said Surf Life Saving New Zealand Chief Executive Pat Waite.
"The State New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championship is the pinnacle event of our Surf Lifesaving calendar. With States' valued support, we are able to offer our athletes the opportunity to hone their sporting skills against fellow lifeguards from all over the country" said Waite.
Seventeen year old Gisborne schoolboy Cory Taylor is a hot favourite competing for Midway Surf Life Saving Club in the under-19 and open division of Ironman. Trained by ironman legend and namesake Cory Hutchings, Taylor will strive to become the first male since Westshore's Dan Moodie to win both under-19 and open ironman titles in the same competition.
"State is proud to support this fantastic event. The range of disciplines at these events has been developed to challenge lifeguards to lift their skills to a world class level which in turn helps them make our beaches a safer place," said David Traill, General Manager State Business Insurance.
State urges the public to support Surf Life Saving New Zealand's plight for Kiwi's to take responsibility for their own safety before heading to the beach - check out weather conditions, wear lifejackets when fishing off rocks and swim between the flags.
The State New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships will be held at Midway Beach, Gisborne from Thursday 15th March - Sunday 18th March 2012.