We pay tribute to the Red Beach athletes, past and present, who have won NZ Championship titles in the Iron Man, Iron Woman, and Diamond events during the past 30 years.
There have been nine winners – six men and 3 women – who have snared these illustrious titles since 1991 when the first one was claimed by Katrina Egan. It was at the 1991 Nationals at Gisborne’s Midway Beach where Red Beach won the Allan Gardner Trophy (most overall points) for the very first time.
1991: Katrina Egan won the NZ Iron Woman title at Midway Beach, Gisborne, to become the very first Red Beach athlete to win an Ironperson event at National level. Katrina also won the Open Women’s Ski race and anchored Red Beach’s Open Women’s Board Relay team to win her third Gold medal.
And it was at Midway Beach in 1991 that Red Beach won the Allan Gardner Trophy for the very first time. The trophy is awarded for the most overall points gained at the NZ Championships. Katrina was selected for the NZ Surf Life Saving team to compete at the 1992 World Life Saving Championships at Shimoda Beach, Japan. In the Women’s Ski Race, she annihilated the field to take out the Gold medal.
1992: Hayden Reece was the first Red Beach athlete to win the Open Iron Man event. He headed off Midway competitors Brent Clay & Cory Hutchings to take out the title at Oakura Beach, New Plymouth. At the same Nationals, Hayden won the Open Men’s Surf Race and was a member of the Red Beach team which captured the Open Taplin Relay title.
Also at Oakura Beach, Red Beach won the Allan Gardner Trophy for surf lifesaving supremacy for the second consecutive year.
1996: Hugh Roberts won the U19 Men’s Iron Man event at Oakura Beach, New Plymouth, then won a second Gold medal when he took out the U19 Men’s Board Race. He collected his third Gold when Red Beach won the U19 Men’s Surf Teams event.
2000: Mark Stephenson won the U16 Men’s Iron Man event at Oakura Beach, New Plymouth. He collected his second Gold medal by winning the U16 Men’s Ski Race. At the SLSNR Awards & Recognition Night in 2000, he was presented with the U19 Sportsman of the Year award. Mark has two children in Red Beach’s Junior Surf division.
2006: Rachel Clarke won the U16 Diamond Lady event (board & swim disciplines) at Oakura Beach, New Plymouth. She also took out the U16 Surf Race & Surf Ski titles. With further success in team events, she came away from New Plymouth with 6 Gold & 4 Bronze medals. At the SLSNR Awards of Excellence in July 2006, she was presented with the U16 Sportswoman of the Year award.
At these Nationals, Red Beach won the Allan Gardner Trophy for the fourth time.
2010: Alistair ‘AJ’ Maney was the second Red Beach athlete to win the NZ U19 Men’s Iron Man event when he raced away with the title at Ohope Beach, Whakatane. In so doing, he headed off clubmate Dylan French who took out the Silver medal. Both athletes featured in the Gold medal win by Red Beach’s U19 Surf Team.
At the SLSNR Awards of Excellence in June 2010, AJ was presented with the U19 Sportsman of the Year award.
2011: Chris Moors became just the second Red Beach athlete to win the NZ Open Men’s Iron Man title when he proved too strong for the field in the final of the event at Mt Maunganui. He also collected a Gold medal in Red Beach’s Open Taplin Relay win.
Just four months earlier, in November 2010, Chris achieved a top-10 finish in the Coolangatta Gold event in Australia.
2013: Hannah Williams won the U16 Diamond Lady final at Mt Maunganui. She collected a second Gold medal when she teamed with Kelsi Boocock and Rebecca Pearce to take out the U16 Women’s Taplin Relay.
2019: Kees Kramer became the third Red Beach athlete to win the NZ U19 Men’s Iron man event at the Mt Maunganui Nationals.
Kees is a homegrown surf athlete who joined Red Beach’s Junior Surf ranks as an 8-year-old. After obtaining his Surf Lifeguard Award in 2014, he specialised in ski, board, and swimming events which set him on the path to winning the prestigious Iron Man event in his final year as an U19 athlete.
Article & photos by Ross Malyon.