More than 1,200 Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) members will take part in this year’s TSB New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Championships on Christchurch’s New Brighton beach from Thursday, 9 March through to Sunday, 12 March.
The TSB New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Championships, known as the TSB Nationals, are the pinnacle sports event for Surf Lifeguards and celebrate the best of the Surf Life Saving movement.
Lewis McClintock, SLSNZ’s National Sports Manager, says: “With a state of national emergency covering many regions following Cyclone Gabrielle, there was some doubt as to whether the national championship could take place this year.
“However, given that our people have been training all summer for this event and were very much looking forward to competing at the TSB Nationals, the decision to go ahead was very much supported by SLSNZ Clubs.
“SLSNZ members had been actively involved in search, rescue and recovery efforts in Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and Auckland and some South Island members had flown up to Hawke’s Bay to support local SAR squads.
“Following our decision to proceed with the TSB Nationals, clubs are pitching together to help find equipment and support those clubs and competitors that have been impacted.”
The iconic four-day SLSNZ event returns to the calendar in 2023 after being cancelled in 2021 and 2022 due to COVID-19 restrictions. The TSB Nationals were last held on New Brighton beach in 2017.
"From Masters who have lost track of the number of Nationals they have attended to 14-year-olds experiencing the event for the first time, the TSB Nationals cater to all levels of participation and almost all aspects of Surf Life Saving.
“The TSB Nationals will see athletes participate in various disciplines: canoes, surf boats, surf swimming, beach sprints, surf skis and boards, competing to become the next National Champion.
Thursday morning sees the Masters division, for members aged over 30, take centre stage until the under 15, under 17, under 19 & open age groups begin in the afternoon. All competitors are current members of one of the 74 Surf Life Saving Clubs and are all current and qualified lifeguards.
Many of the events at the TSB Nationals have a rescue focus, so the Surf Lifeguards are keeping fit and honing their skills when they compete in surf sports events.
“We are so pleased to see the TSB Nationals back on again, as it is not only an opportunity for participants to compete against the best in the country but also a chance to highlight the talents of the amazing people that help keep our beaches safe,” Mark Rackley-Gale, Area Manager, Christchurch at TSB says.
Lewis McClintock said, “SLSNZ would like to thank TSB for their continued support for this event, and we are delighted to partner with another organisation that is all about looking after people and being there for Kiwis.
“In addition, we are extremely grateful to ChristchurchNZ for the funding we have received to bring this significant event back to the region.”
Tracey Wilson, GM – Destination & Attraction ChristchurchNZ, said: “Ōtautahi Christchurch is proud to play host to the TSB New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships at New Brighton Beach. Bring on late summer days and some world-class competition!
“This national event is expected to attract at least 1500 visitors to Ōtautahi Christchurch, generating a minimum of $1.5 million in visitor spending across four days. With more than 2,000 people anticipated to watch the competition, it is also a great opportunity to showcase New Brighton Beach.
“Our region city has an affinity to the water, a history of connection with the sea. We surf, we fish, we sail, we swim between the flags, so naturally we are hugely supportive of an event that encourages beach safety and teamwork, and the responsible enjoyment of our coastline.”