Those on the sand of Takapuna Beach were rewarded with the best conditions in Race 7 of the State Beach Series. While conditions were blustery, up to 20 knot nor-east winds, there was no chop to contend with and runners were blessed with a firm underfoot on an outgoing tide.

Triathlon New Zealand U19 squad member Sam Ward led the 5km runners home in a very exciting finish, 2 seconds ahead of team mates Tayler Reid and Troy McAlister. The NZ U19 squad is in Auckland for a development camp which Triathlon NZ's Director of Coaching, Brett Reid says is aimed at developing the youngsters in other aspects of the sport from athlete responsibility to physical preparation and bike mechanics.

Tara La Grange continued her winning form in the women's race. In her closest race of the series, she shut out Elise Salt, the NZ U16 Triathlon champion, winning by 15 seconds.

Sam WardRun winner Sam Ward
Jeremy StephensonPaddle board winner Jeremy Stephenson
(Photos: Sam May Photography; click to enlarge)

The event presented a challenge for all those diehards who braved conditions to compete in the swimming and paddling events. Many paddlers would have found themselves outside their comfort zones as they battled choppy waters and cross currents.

New Zealand champion Jeremy Stephenson mastered the conditions in the 3km Stand Up Paddle, enjoying his time out on the water. After finishing fifth in the Molokai2Oahu World Paddleboard Champs in Hawaii last month, he thought these waters were tame. He did admit "it was tough work on the way out but the downwind leg was fun, allowing for plenty of "gliding" on the way home". Stephenson finished 45 seconds ahead of Troy Huston with Troy McAsey 4 seconds back in third. Stacey Smith continued her dominance in the women's race making it five in a row.

Swimmers were also in for a challenging night as they battled a nasty chop and found themselves working harder than usual. In his third consecutive win of the series, it was Jackson Cropp who was first out of the water in less than eleven minutes to take the overall lead in the Series, hotly pursued by Sean Newcombe and Nick Berry.

Jackson CroppSwim winner Jackson Cropp
(Photo: Sam Mayhew Photography; click to enlarge)

Kirsty Wannan thrived in the conditions, leading the women out of the water in a very smart time of 11 minutes 25 seconds, just thirty seconds behind the men. Danielle McKenzie, who returned to the swim this week after winning the 3km board paddle last week, was second and Brenda Russell was back in third place.

Surf lifesaver Kevin Morrison, home from training in Australia, managed the conditions in the 5km Surf Ski Paddle squeaking home ahead of Oskar Stielau; both paddlers recorded the same time with Robbie Ford, 4 seconds back in third place. Series leader Steven Ferguson had to settle for fifth but only thirty six seconds separated the top six boats home.

Results follow below the photo gallery.

Photos by Sam Mayhew Photography.

Results: State Beach Series, Race 7

Ocean Swim 1000/1500m – Male

Place Name Time Points
1 CROPP, Jackson 10m 55s 100.00
2 NEWCOMBE, Sean 11m 12s 98.17
3 BERRY, Nick 11m 27s 96.62

Ocean Swim 1000/1500m – Female

Place Name Time Points
1 WANNAN, Kirsty 11m 25s 100.00
2 MCKENZIE, Danielle 11m 48s 97.66
3 RUSSELL, Brenda 11m 51s 97.41

Beach Run 5km – Male

Place Name Time Points
1 WARD, Sam 16m 26s 100.00
2 REID, Tayler 16m 28s 99.86
3 MCALISTER, Troy 16m 28s 99.85

Beach Run 5km – Female

Place Name Time Points
1 LA GRANGE, Tara 18m 39s 100.00
2 SALT, Elise 18m 54s 99.09
3 VAN DER KAAY, Nicole 19m 15s 97.78

Surf Ski Paddle 5km – Male

Place Name Time Points
1 MORRISON, Kevin 27m 22s 100.00
2 STIELAU, Oskar 27m 22s 99.98
3 FORD, Robbie 27m 26s 99.82

Surf Ski Paddle 5km – Female

Place Name Time Points
1 SIMPSON, Dene 32m 22s 100.00
2 DODWELL, Rachael 32m 35s 99.56
3 BUTT, Georgia 35m 32s 93.48

Stand-Up Paddle 3km – Male

Place Name Time Points
1 STEPHENSON, Jeremy 17m 45s 100.00
2 HUSTON, Troy 18m 30s 97.16
3 MCASEY, Troy 18m 34s 96.91

Stand-Up Paddle 3km – Female

Place Name Time Points
1 SMITH, Stacey 23m 55s 100.00
2 WOOD, Julie 29m 46s 84.38
3 LYTHE, Mardie 36m 22s 69.69

Board Paddle 3km – Male

Place Name Time Points
1 WALKER, Adam 25m 47s 100.00

Board Paddle 3km – Female

Place Name Time Points
1 WILSON, Emma 22m 27s 100.00
2 WILLIAMS, Hannah 23m 36s 96.52
3 CAMPLIN, Brita 24m 31s 93.85

Junior Beach Run 2.5km – Male

Place Name Time Points
1 HADDY, Josh 9m 34s 100.00
2 ELLIOT, Luke 10m 03s 96.65
3 SAXBY, Toby 10m 43s 92.10

Junior Beach Run 2.5km – Female

Place Name Time Points
1 HARDEN, Brieanna 10m 53s 100.00
2 BURKITT, Sarah 10m 56s 99.67
3 SAXBY, Ella 11m 16s 97.59

Junior Swim 300m – Male

Place Name Time Points
1 ELLIOT, Aidan 4m 53s 100.00
2 MCPHEAT, Adam 5m 25s 92.79
3 SPILLING, Rhys 8m 40s 58.58

Junior Swim 300m – Female

Place Name Time Points
1 CROPP, Jacey 3m 58s 100.00
2 BROOKE, Elle 4m 16s 94.86
3 WALKER, Emma 4m 30s 90.92

Novice Paddle 3km – Male

Place Name Time Points
1 STEVENS, Andrew 25m 10s 100.00

Novice Swim 300m – Male

Place Name Time Points
1 HARDEN, Joshua 4m 39s 100.00

Novice Swim 300m – Female

Place Name Time Points
1 DALTON, Mackenzie 5m 27s 100.00
2 REA, Mel 5m 38s 97.61
3 SHAMSELDIN, Lisa 8m 16s 69.85