Auckland underwater racers on top once more-Northland’s longest running

A group of diving fans from Auckland has won one of Northland’s longest-running, and most weird, underwater races for the second year running.

The Wettie Young Guns finished the 3.5km Russell-to-Opua snorkel-scuba relay race in 44m 10s on Saturday, pasting 14 other teams.

The race had been won seven times in a row by the Port Valley squad from Opua until injury forced it to pull out in 2013; the team members were back this year but were no equal for the Aucklanders. Competitors from Auckland ranked in first, second and third positions, where as Port Valley teams had called for fourth and fifth positions.

This year’s event featured a family squad for the first time. Six members of the Edwards family of Kerikeri and Paihia, ranging in years from 11 to 53, completed in a reputable seventh place with a time of 58m 37s. Every bit is now tradition, the race was preceded by an ice-breaker swim at Paihia in which kids have to rescue blocks of ice from the water to win trophies.

Later on snorkel-scuba contestants took part in a spear fishing race with the biggest catches auctioned for contributions. The competition was postponed when the fire brigade team was called to a medical emergency.

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