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.