Christophers a cut above rivals in White Island race
By Steve Hepburn
Emma Christophers is first home in the swimming section. PHOTOS: GERARD O’BRIEN
Emma Christophers made a late decision to enter the White Island race.
A couple of days before the race on Saturday, the 15-year-old Kavanagh College pupil opted to enter the swimming section.
And it is a not an easy decision to make, as swimming out to White Island and back in the chilly sea water is no walk in the park.
But in the end it was a wise decision.
Christophers, from the St Clair club, recorded a time of one hour, 24 minutes which was the fastest swim ever recorded by a female and one of the best times of recent years.
The Warrington crew of (from left) Mark Hastie, Kayle Harris, Gerard McHoull and Ken McHoull work into the waves to finish the race.
Not far behind, and equally impressive, was Aiden Blair in second with Sam Todd, third and Sam Mann next.
St Clair surf lifesaving chairman Cam Burrow said the event had gone well and was a good start to the season.
A total of 83 entrants made the start line with the race starting at 2pm, rather than the usual 9am due to tides and conditions.
The wind picked up in the afternoon which made it testing for the return leg.
Sophie Matahaere reaches the sand to be the first paddleboarder home in the White Island race on Saturday.
First home overall was paddler Liam Chesney (19), of the Lyall Bay Surf Lifesaving Club, on a surf ski. He is a student at the University of Otago.
Chesney was about 10 minutes off the race record but the tough wind coming home meant a record was never likely.
Sophie Matehaere (14) was the first paddleboarder to finish.
Patrols at St Clair, St Kilda and Brighton are due to start next weekend.