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Piha Boaties @ North Island Champs

Posted by Piha Boaties
North Island Champs – Surf Boat Series, Round Five: Waihi, Coromandel

After spending last week watching the surf report as Tropical Cyclone Oma tracked our way, we knew we would be leaving our unusually calm west coast stomping grounds for some sizeable east coast ‘gnarliness’ going into Round Five of the Surf Boat Series last weekend at Waihi Beach. Everyone’s expectations we’re well surpassed by the day’s antics at Waihi – what a spectacle we put on!

The Piha Boaties steamed in with six crews competing in four different divisions; with two of these divisions, having two Piha crews going at it head to head - Open Men’s Piha Priapists & Piha A, and our Under 23 Men Piha Pineapples and Power Rangers. This fuelled the fire to chase podium finishes for sure!

Piha Priapists, Open Men's

The Priapists have been focusing on skill work and technical aspects of their racing over the last few weeks leading into North Island Champs and what a testament to their hard work. Waihi put on some good swells and challenging conditions for the crew who battled hard through their round-robin division. At the completion of the round-robin, the Piha Priapists were sitting on top of the leader board in 1st Equal (taking out two firsts and a second). The Priapists raced well in their semi coming in second place and securing their spot in the Open Men's final. The final began and it saw us roar off the start line and get ourselves into first place navigating through the surf, the race unfortunately unravelled when the crew took a monster on the nose and stopped us in our tracks, losing the lead and missing our spot on the podium. Waihi has proven one thing for our crew, WE CAN WIN! Nationals is just around the corner. Watch this space.

Piha A, Open Men's

The Piha A crew were racing together for only the third time this season, with only just as many water training sessions under their belt. Talk about commitment to our sport with the majority of the A crew being located in different towns throughout the North Island. The boys were making Horse (their sweep) work hard throughout the day; having only a few hours together in surf this season made for a few delayed responses to his rather urgent calls. Despite this, they managed to pick up two 2nd places in their heats to see them into the semi-final, but eventually missed the final by a single place. They can take a lot out of this weekend, with every row a chance to improve and will look forward to showing what they’ve got come Nationals in six weeks’ time.

Piha Black Pearls, Open Women's

The Black Pearls were chomping at the bit get their race face’s on, after a solid month since their last competition. All of that eagerness quickly evaporated after arriving at the beach to see that conditions were going to be similar to lasts years Waihi Thriller. Credit to the ladies, they got on with business and should be incredibly proud of their efforts. They were by far one of the tidiest women’s crews racing on Saturday, with a full weekend training in the surf at Whangamata last weekend proving very beneficial. The first race was always going to be a test with conditions unknown but a clean out saw the girls turn first. After a wee broach at the last minute, the girls managed to sneak home in first place. The second race did not go totally to plan; bashing out to the can, and chasing some huge runners home, out of nowhere a wave breaking into the back of the boat, flipped them straight over. However they managed to pick up enough points from that one and another flying first in Heat 3 to put them easily in the final. They got off to an unreal start and just as they thought they were out safely, a decent set rolled through throwing the girls straight in the danger zone; leaving no choice but to step up the game. As one of only three crews to make it out safely, the Black Pearls were guaranteed a medal, however after gassing past the lead boat, sitting neck and neck with Orewa the girls snaked the silver wear. An incredibly brave outing from the ladies sees them sitting in First Place going into the last round of the Surf Boat Series at Omaha in two weeks’ time.

Piha Pineapples, U23 Men's

The Pineapples are a relatively new crew when it comes to rowing in the conditions faced at the Waihi North Island Champs. We (like the Priapists) have been focusing on race technique leading into this competition and again has paid off for us. The Pineapples saw themselves race well in the three round robin races finishing with two thirds and a second getting them comfortably into the Finals. The Pineapples raced well in the finals, battling very competitively against the other crews but with a bit of bad luck in the surf on the way home meant we missed our spot on the podium. The racing at Waihi has given our crew huge confidence leading into a much anticipated build into our national event. Bring it on!

Piha Power Ranges, U23 Men's

Tough conditions at Waihi for the Piha Power Rangers, but with strong competition in the U23 division they knew it wasn’t going to be an easy day of racing. The first race saw them leading the whole race until a monster set on the way home sent them flying sideways. Unlucky for the boys, two we’re pinned under their oars resulting in a pulled hamstring and a twisted ankle. Hobbling up the beach to the tent the rest of the day looked lost. But no, the guys dug deep and wanted to prove to everyone they are a serious threat and decided to give it another crack. The Power Rangers absolutely blitzed their start, powered thru a few walls of white wash through the field making the turn first by a boat length. But by the nature of surf boats; the water gods didn’t grant any rides home, giving the other crews a wave to catch up. The boys chopped their way to the finish line pulling a narrow second. With an easy slide into the Finals, but surf size increasing by the minute, sweep Rhye made the call to park the boys at that before any more damage was done. All in all they showed everyone they’re going to be giving everything to be on that podium at nationals. Nothing a few physio sessions and yoga stretches can’t fix – that’ll be worth a watch.

Piha Pingers, U23 Women's

The Piha Pingers went into North Island Champs with high hopes after a solid few weeks of training. Boosted with a full team and fresh energy, the girls were ready for a big weekend of racing. The conditions were tough, 3-4ft surf with a very short periods, meant the girls were frothing to show off their competence in surf. Their first race went well, bagging a 2nd after getting absolutely smoked on the way out. Their second race, they were first to the buoy can showing they are competitive and up there with the other crews. Much like the Power Rangers, the girls decided to call it a day after race two with building surf size & very risky conditions. They didn’t get to compete in their final but the day proved that they are comfortable rowing in sizeable surf and looking good going into Northern Region Champ’s.

Our next carnival will be at Omaha Beach on the 23-24th of February, for the last round of the Surf Boat Series at Northern Region Championships. Our very last hit out before things really start to get real in our lead up to the SLSNZ National Champs. Until next time, swim between the flags :)