Jonathan Rorke was again at the forefront of South Africa’s men’s beach sprinting excellence in the second of three Test days at the International Surf Rescue Challenge in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand.
Rorke, the General Tire Lifesaving South Africa 2017 National Champion, led the relay team of Bradley Odendaal, Malec Odendaal and Dylan Bridger to a second successive first place against New Zealand and Australia’s finest.
Rorke also finished second in the individual sprint, with New Zealand’s speed champion Kodi Harmon again finishing first. Harmon also edged Rorke into second place in the final in the first Test day.
Matthew Bouwman was another of the South African men to make an impression with his second place in the Surf Ski.
South Africa’s women, inspired by 2017 athlete of the year Carmel Billson, also produced better results as South Africa edged into third place overall after starting the day in fourth.
The South African junior team are also third overall, with Runaldo Pedro finishing first in the beach flags (see pictured above) for a second successive time and also combining with Cheyne Haupt, Joshua Templeton and Kurt Rautenbach to take first in the beach relay.
Western Province’s Megan Kreft finished third in the junior beach sprint.
Australia leads hosts and world champions New Zealand by just two points and South Africa’s third place is just one point ahead of the United States of America.
South Africa made up three points on the United States in the second of three Test days after trailing the Americans by two points after the opening day’s first Test.
Australia, winners of the first Test day, needed victory in the final race of the day to secure the second Test overall result.
Lifesaving New Zealand’s official website reported that while New Zealand’s Black Fins got pipped at the post for the second Test win, they are still within reach for the overall win as points are accumulated after the three Tests [days]. The top points scorer will then be declared the 2017 International Surf Rescue Challenge Champions.
The battle between South Africa, USA and Great Britain for third place is intense with just three points separating third and fifth.
Meanwhile, in the under-19 youth division, it was a history-making day for the Kiwi team, the Junior Black Fins, who won their first ever Test day since the series started in 1999.
Australia, traditionally dominant among the juniors, finished the second Test day in second place and South Africa was third, followed by Great Britain and the USA.
ISRC event manager Ross Merrett said the quality of racing and the standard of competitors across all the teams made for an exceptional event, adding team management, athletes and spectators had described the first two Test days as the best ever International Surf Rescue Challenge.
The event runs over three days, with each day a separate Test, and the schedule includes swim, surf board, surf ski and beach events.
The ISRC originally started in 1939 as the Trans-Tasman Series between Australia and New Zealand, with the current format of the event first conducted in 1999, which included South Africa and then followed by other countries.
The original Trans-Tasman Series is now contested as the Trans-Tasman Trophy within the ISRC, where New Zealand hasn’t won since 1950. Never have they been as close going into the third and final day.
Visit the Facebook event page to follow today’s third and final day of the International Surf Rescue Challenge.
Selected SA results
Beach Sprint Relay: 1st (Bradley Odendaal, Dylan Bridger, Jonathan Rorke, Malec Odendaal)
Rescue Tube Rescue: 2nd (Bradley Odendaal, Daniel Jones, Dylan Bridger and Jonathan Rorke)
Beach Sprint: 2nd (Jonathan Rorke)
Surf Ski: 2nd (Matthew Bouwman)
Relay: 3rd (Candice Murray, Carmel Billson, Lauren Billson, Sasha-Lee Nordengen)
Rescue Tube Rescue: 3rd (Candice Murray, Carmel Billson, Lauren Billson, Sasha-Lee Nordengen)
Ocean Person: 4th (Carmel Billson)
Board Relay: 3rd (Carmel Billson, Malec Odendaal)
Beach Flags: 1st Runaldo Pedro
Beach Relay: 1st: (Cheyne Haupt, Joshua Templeton, Kurt Rautenbach, Runaldo Pedro)
Ocean Person Relay: 3rd (Cheyne Haupt, Connor Botha, Kurt Rautenbach, Matthew Maroun)
Rescue Tube Rescue: 3rd (Joshua Templeton, Kurt Rautenbach, Matthew Maroun, Runaldo Pedro)
Surf Race: 3rd Joshua Templeton
Ocean Person: 3rd Cheyne Haupt 4th Matthew Maroun
Beach sprint: 3rd Megan Kreft
Rescue Tube Rescue: 2nd (Alexandra Chislett, Amica de Jager, Megan Kreft, Teegan Hardwick)
Surf teams: 3rd (Amica de Jager, Connor Botha, Joshua Templeton, Tamryn McKie)
Ski relay: 2nd (Matthew Maroun, Teegan Hardwick)