The Omanu under-19 surf boat crew won a thrilling final in Whangamata yesterday, getting off to a dream start in the national surf boat series.
The Whangamata Surf Boat Spectacular attracted crews from all over New Zealand, including six crews from Omanu and Mount Maunganui and a couple from Waihi Beach.
Leading the charge were the Omanu rookies, who skipped the first round of the series in Wellington but hit the ground running on the Coromandel.
They were helped when the strong Piha crew missed the buoy in the final and had to turn again, then were helped even further by Fraser Kirk's swimming skills when their boat broached and flipped on the way back in.
"This is my second season rowing and that was only the second time we've flipped," Kirk laughed. "I used to be a surf swimmer for Omanu and when we flipped, I figured I might as well try and swim in."
Kirk and James Martin both had a season with Mount Maunganui last year but enlisted New Zealand junior squash star James Cooper and George Cortesi to produce a winning combination at Omanu, along with sweep James Berthelsen.
Waihi Beach were second, with Piha limping home in third.
The Omanu women's team also featured, with Leah Scown, Sharleen Irwin, Jo Lahmert, Kate Niederer and sweep Ron Dobbs finishing third in their final, behind Orewa and Mairangi Bay. Mount Maunganui's Stephanie Clarke, Anna Haden, Charlotte Jones, Ashlea Stanford and sweep Clayton Kellett finished third.
The Omanu open men's team also made their final, while the Omanu Old Salts narrowly missed out.
See the highlights of the race here: