Five national Taplin Relay titles won by Red Beach

13th April 2020

When Red Beach snared
the Open Taplin Relay title at this year’s NZ Championships in Gisborne, the occasion marked nine years since the club’s athletes last lifted the prestigious trophy. The previous win was in 2011 at Mt Maunganui.

Known as the blue riband event of the Nationals – the one that all clubs with Taplin teams have a burning desire to win – the closing stages of this year’s race had the adrenalin racing. In the penultimate leg, club coach Jack Gavin put in a blistering swim through the Midway surf to pull Red Beach from fourth position to the front of the chasing pack. He then tagged Patrick Makgill who swam powerfully before clinching the national title for his teammates in the final sprint to the finish line.

Standing atop the podium in Gisborne with their Gold medals ... the team of Jack Gavin, Kalani Gilbertson, Hamish Gledhill (holding trophy), Patrick Makgill, Daniel Cairns, Sam Readman (standing L-R in photo).

The Bill Griffin Memorial Trophy for the Open Men’s Taplin at the NZ Championships was donated by Paul & Tony Griffin, the sons of WV Griffin, QSM. Bill Griffin joined the Lyall Bay Surf Club in 1922 and had 67 years of continuous involvement in surf lifesaving. Bill served on SLSNZ as National President and delegate but was most recognised for his years of service as the national marshall. He was made a Life Member of Surf Life Saving New Zealand in 1950. The trophy was first contested in 1989.

Previous National Taplin Relay Winners from Red Beach
2011 at Mt Maunganui; 1997 at Mt Maunganui; 1994 at Lyall Bay, Wellington; 1992 at Oakura Beach, New Plymouth.

Footnote: The winners for 1996 (Taylors Mistake) and 1997 (Red Beach) are not currently engraved on the trophy.

2011 :  Sam Cosgrove, Dylan French, Chris Moors, William Lloyd, Patrick Maney, Jared Pouwhare.

1997 : Steve Richards, Scott Pritchard, Tim Fitzsimmons, Adam Jackson, Craig Tulloch, Ned Stevens.

1994 : Rob Ferguson, Scott Pritchard, Hayden Reece, Bryce Manion, Jared Jackson, Steve Richards.

1992 : Adam Jackson, Duncan McKenzie, Hayden Reece, Rob Ferguson, Jared Jackson, Scott Pritchard.

Article & photos by Ross Malyon.