16 December 2017
“I’ve had a few fourths and I’ve always seemed to be 20-30secs off the pace in previous years so to finally come away with a win on my home beach is pretty special,” Miller said. “It was always going to be a bloody hard race but my tactic was to try and push the run - that’s one of my strong legs. I needed a gap on the ski and the plan was to take a lead into the board, so I was pretty stoked how it worked out."
His Mount Maunganui training partner Declan Dempster snatched second, 1min 20secs behind Miller, after a withering final board leg, out-sprinting Frenchman Jonathan Despergers up the beach to the finish.
There was also a brand new winner in the female division, although Rachel Clarke is no stranger to success, having won the world surf ski series just a week earlier in Australia.
The former New Zealand ironwoman champion and Auckland policewoman used her ski strength to pull away, then held off teenagers Ella Kingi (Lyall Bay) and Hannah Baker (East End) despite limited time on her board.
“I was sitting around after winning the world series and thought ‘why not give the Monster a go?’ - I’ve done it in a team before but never as an individual - and managed to get my entry in about 3hrs before they closed,” Clarke said. “The run was pretty hard but once I got about a kilometre into the ski, I felt really comfortable.”
Whakatane’s reigning Coast to Coast champion Sam Clark finished 23rd in his surf lifesaving debut, clocking the third fastest run and eighth-fastest ski paddle but showing his lack of board ability to fade near the finish.
Former Olympic kayaker Steve Ferguson had the fastest ski paddle of the day, hauling in a slew of rivals to finish 11th overall.
Meanwhile, Lyall Bay’s Pippa Nichol stormed home in the inaugural under-14 Mini Monster, out-sprinting her male rivals in the process as she clocked the fastest time overall over the 3.2km course. Mount Maunganui’s Mia Gardiner was second female home, with Omanu’s Lucy Bartlett third.
See all results here: https://www.sportsplits.com/home/quickresults?clientId=34&raceId=722&culture=en-US