Surf life-saving: Laughtons win three golds

Antony Mason.
Antony Mason.
St Clair sisters Carla and Steph Laughton led the South Island charge at the North Island inflatable rescue boat championships at the weekend.

The Laughtons won three gold medals and a silver at Ohope Beach, helping their St Clair club finish third overall.

They were too strong in the tube, mass and assembly rescues, but were denied a clean sweep in the single rescue by United North Piha's Katherine Reardon and and Grace Joseph.

''The girls are disappointed they didn't get the four golds, which was their aim, but it's probably pretty good for them to keep that edge to their racing,'' St Clair IRB manager Antony Mason said.

''It's also good to see the standard of the women's racing noticeably lift throughout the weekend.

''While we didn't have too many expectations with the overall standings, we're pretty happy with third."

Reardon and Joseph have only been racing together for a year but managed to get off to a flier in the single final against the world champion Laughtons, to add to their silver in the mass rescue they captured on the first day.

''We're the first girls team at the club in years and it's pretty exciting,'' Reardon said.

''We were pretty gutted with the assembly rescue, because that's normally our best event and we didn't even make the final, so it was nice to come out and nail the single."

Waimarama's crack crew of Mike Harman and Ben Cross dominated the premier division at the carnival, which doubled as the second round of the BP Surf Rescue national series.

But the small Sunset Beach club claimed a breakthrough club title after collecting 62 points over the weekend.

Based at the mouth of the Waikato River, Sunset fielded three under-21 crews and three women's crews, holding off the hard-charging Hawkes Bay contingent from Waimarama.

The next round of the series is in Taranaki next month.