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2021 Awards of Excellence

United North Piha club takes out top award at Northern surf awards

The United North Piha Lifeguard Service (UNPLS) was named Yamaha club of The Year top club at the 2021 Surf Life Saving Northern Region (SLSNR) Toyota Financial Services Awards of Excellence on Saturday 17 July.

The west coast Auckland club took the Award ahead of fellow finalists Mairangi Bay Surf Life Saving Club and Surf Life Saving Kariaotahi.

UNPLS won Toyota Financial Services Rescue of the Year (jointly with the Piha Paid Lifeguard Service), while club stalwart Mary Duff won Patrol Support Person of the Year. The club was also a finalist in the SE Genesis Innovation of the Year Award for its under-20s training camp while long-serving club member Leif Neilson received a Distinguished Service award and was a finalist for Outstanding Contribution to Power Craft.

As Rescue of the Year recipients, UNPLS was formally recognised for the rescue of a badly injured surfer at a remote bay near Karekare on 17 February this year. The victim was retrieved from the beach in treacherous conditions and successfully returned to safety before being taking to hospital. The other finalists in the category were Karekare Surf Life Saving Patrol and Mangawhai Heads Volunteer Lifeguard Service (see separate release for more details).

SLSNR CEO Matt Williams says United North Piha’s win is just one of many successes enjoyed by the United North Piha club over the last year. “I’m amazed at the clubs’ ability to deliver across numerous areas in lifesaving, while they also fund and project-manage significant and much-needed capital redevelopment of their lifesaving facilities currently. This not only shows the huge demand put on the average surf life saving club, but also the exemplary leadership and organisational management shown by United North Pihas directors.”

East coast Auckland clubs did well in the Awards, with Red Beach and Orewa both picking up seven trophies, followed by Mairangi Bay and Sunset Beach Lifeguard Service with four each.

Red Beach’s impressive haul included Outstanding Contribution to Junior Surf (Claire Burgham), Junior Coach of the Year (Brendon Rutledge-Malyon), Under-19 Sportsman (Patrick Makgil), Developing Surf Official (Andrew Short), and Surf Lifeguard of the Year (Harry Mellor), while the club also picked up the Cath & Eddie Millar Cup for junior surf competition and won the Northern Region Junior Surf Championships.

Long-serving Red Beach club member Michelle Newton was also honoured with a Life Membership.

Orewa picked up six individual sports titles – both the Under-14 (Elizabeth Brennan and Mason King) and Under-15 (Isla Petherbridge and Kailen Brackebush) titles , Under-17 Sportsman (George Wenman) and Under-19 Sportswoman (Kendra Stinson) – along with Examiner of the Year, Benny Larsen.

Mairangi Bay  took out the top individual Awards – Sportswoman of the Year (Danielle Mckenzie and Sportsman of the Year (Steve Kent), as well as Under-17 Sportswoman (Zoe Crawford) and Event Guard of the Year (Blair Lees).

Sunset Beach continued its dominance of the IRB scene in recent years, its women’s team of Taylor Shrimpton and Abi Chapman winning the IRB Championships and taking out Competition Team of the Year, while IRB maestro Shane Edwards won Coach of the Year and gained a Distinguished Service Award. Hardworking Sunset Beach volunteer Joanne Hobson made it a three-peat in the Volunteer of the Year category after winning in 2019 and jointly with Faron Turner in 2020.

The Innovation of the Year was awarded to Waipu Cove Surf Life Saving Club for its Waipu Coast Watchers initiative, a network of spotters along the Bream Bay coast to alert the club to any swimmers in trouble and support search and rescue efforts. Other finalists in the category were UNPLS (above) and Bethell’s Beach Surf Life Saving Patrol for its preventative patrols initiative

Waipu also won Awards for Instructor of the Year (Jaine Curran) and Rookie Lifeguard of the Year (Lucy Manning).

Rounding out the surf sports awards, Surf Official of the Year went to Tania Ahrens of Surf Life Saving Kariaotahi/Ruakaka Surf Life Saving Patrol while Raglan Surf Life Saving Club’s Molly Abrahams picked up Under-19 Lifeguard of the Year.

In addition to Leif and Shane, SLSNR honoured five other individuals with Distinguished Service Awards: Tara Coe and Mike Lawrence (Kariaotahi), Lindsay Hill and Nicola Howes (Whangarei Heads), while Service Awards went to Anne Snowden (Raglan), Jon Copeland, Jenny Fergus and Kelly McColl (Orewa), Dean Maddaford (Bethells), Kendall Dooley and Ken Pengelly (Muriwai), Mark Edwards and Taylor Shrimpton (Sunset Beach), John-Michael Swannix (Whangarei Heads), Peter Kramer (Red Beach) and Grace Campbell (Mairangi Bay).



Surf Sports Awards

  • Under 14 Sportswoman of The Year: Elizabeth Brennan – Ōrewa
  • Under 14 Sportsman of The Year: Mason King – Ōrewa
  • Outstanding Contribution to Junior Surf: Claire Burgham – Red Beach
  • Junior Coach of the Year: Brendon Rutledge-Malyon – Red Beach
  • Under 15 Sportswoman of The Year: Isla Petherbridge – Ōrewa
  • Under 15 Sportsman of The Year: Kailen Brackebush – Ōrewa
  • Under 17 Sportswoman of The Year: Zoe Crawford – Mairangi Bay
  • Under 17 Sportsman of The Year: George Wenman – Ōrewa
  • Under 19 Sportswoman of The Year: Kendra Stinson – Ōrewa
  • Under 19 Sportsman of The Year: Patrick Makgil – Red Beach
  • Surf Coach of The Year: Shane Edwards – Sunset Beach
  • Competition Team of The Year: Sunset Woman’s Open IRB Crew – Taylor Shirmpton & Abi Chapman
  • Developing Surf Official of The Year: Andrew Short – Red Beach
  • Surf Official of The Year: Tania Ahrens – Kariaotahi/Ruakaka
  • Quicksilver Event Guard of the Year: Blair Lees – Mairangi Bay
  • Sportswoman of the Year: Danielle Mckenzie – Mairangi Bay
  • Sportsman of the Year: Steve Kent – Mairangi Bay
  • Junior Surf Cath and Eddie Millar Cup: Red Beach
  • Northern Region Junior Surf Championships: Red Beach
  • IRB Championships: Sunset Beach

Lifesaving Awards

  • Instructor Of the Year: Jaine Curran – Waipu Cove
  • Examiner Of the Year: Benny Larsen – Ōrewa
  • Quicksilver Outstanding Contribution to Power Craft: Leif Neilson – United North Piha
  • Quicksilver Rookie Lifeguard of the Year: Lucy Manning – Waipu Cove
  • Quicksilver Under 19 Surf Lifeguard of The Year: Mollie Abrams – Raglan
  • Quicksilver Patrol Support of the Year Award: Mary Duff – United North Piha
  • Quicksilver Surf Lifeguard of the Year: Harry Mellor – Red Beach
  • Volunteer of the Year: Joanne Hobson – Sunset Beach
  • Toyota Financial Services Rescue of the Year: United North Piha/Piha Mercer Bay Rescue
  • Innovation of the Year: Waipu Cove / ECOS Coast Watchers
  • Yamaha 2021 Club Of The Year Award: United North Piha Lifeguard Service

Service Awards

  • SLSNR Service Award recipients:
    • Anne Snowden – Raglan
    • Jon Copeland – Orewa
    • Dean Maddaford – Bethells Beach
    • Jenny Fergus – Ōrewa; Kendall Dooley – Muriwai
    • Mark Edwards – Sunset Beach
    • Kelly McColl – Ōrewa
    • John-Michael Swannix – Whangarei Heads
    • Peter Kramer – Red Beach
    • Grace Campbell – Mairangi Bay
    • Shannon Swann – Kariaotahi
    • Taylor Shrimpton – Sunset Beach
    • Ken Pengelly – Muriwai.
  • Distinguished Service Award:
    • Tara Coe – Kariaotahi
    • Mike Lawrence – Kariaotahi
    • Lindsay Hill – Whangarei Heads
    • Leif Neilson – United North Piha
    • Shane Edwards – Sunset Beach
    • Nicola Howes - Whangarei Heads.
  • Life Membership: Michelle Newton – Red Beach