Mangawhai Heads Volunteer Lifeguard Service (MHVLS) hosts the Annual Lifeguard Longboard Nationals. After helping run the event over the past 4-5 years I stepped up as Contest Director in 2013 and the fun begins....
|Competitor line up Photo: Dave McNeish|
Its fair to say that the traditions of Surf Life Saving globally have strong ties with surfing, in particular Longboarding. Mangawhai Heads have hosted the Lifeguard Longboard Nationals for the last 21 years straight… and the event always attracts lifeguards who drape toes, shimmy up and down their logs, and have a few cans afterwards to celebrate. In 2013 there were some 50 entries from all over the North Island from clubs including Gisborne, Piha, Bethells Beach, Whangamata and a strong local contingent from Mangawhai Heads., and one sneaky / ripper Americano brother in the mix too.
The event is a lifeguard only event and there is an Open Mens, Masters, Womens, Juniors and Classic Division. Traditional longboarding is the flavour of the day, especially in the classic where boards must be pre-1970's with no modifications, and definitely NO LEASHES. MHVLS as the host club is unique in the New Zealand SLS movement in that (a.) you won't find anyone wearing speedos and (b.) you will find more surfboards hanging in the gear shed racks then any other club in NZ.
In its 21 year history the event has always been run at Mangawhai Heads, either on the main beach or on the Harbour Entrance, known as "The Bar". In 2013 clean 1.0m-1.5m waves rolled in all day and surfers were treated to some great peaks and peelers. This year it was Californian Lifeguard and Santa Cruz local charger Paul Steinberg who stitched up both the Open Mens and Classic Division.
Well what more can I say.... 21 years and going strong. Always a few laughs, plenty of classic boards and a bunch of cold beers that flow on afterwards.
Open: Paul Steinberg, USA, 1; Neil McInnes, Mangawhai Heads, 2; Andrew Ear-Peacock, Whangamata, 3; Toby Gibb, Mangawhai Heads, 4.
Women's: Jess Costello, Mangawhai Heads, 1; Alana Thrasyvoulou, Mangawhai Heads, 2; Brenna Bishop, Bethells Beach, 3.
Juniors: Mitch McRae, Mangawhai Heads, 1; Brenna Bishop, Bethells Beach, 2; Daniel Hessell, Mangawhai Heads, 3.
Masters: Dave Sneyd, Auckland, 1; Steve Jones, Omaha, 2; Graham Darlow, Mangawhai Heads, 3; Bob McDonald, 4.
|The watchful eyes of the judges|
|The winners trophy, with JR Cash in the background|
|Paul Steinberg, switch foot style.|
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