Kelta O’Rourke, a Kauai Junior Lifeguard participant for five years, was selected to be a member of the USA Lifesaving Youth National Team for the second straight year to compete in the DHL International Surf Rescue Challenge at Mt. Maunganui, New Zealand.
“The competition was stiff with each country bringing their best athletes,” said Sara O’Rourke, Kelta’s mother who accompanied the contingent.
Competition in the youth division was waged between teams representing Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Great Britain and the United States.
Following the competition, which wrapped up Dec. 3, O’Rourke and Team USA finished third overall in the beach relay and fourth overall in the board relay — both in the youth divisions. The Australian contingent won both the open and youth divisions.
On Day 3, O’Rourke, 17, finished fourth overall in Beach Flags.
The first test of the beach relay had O’Rourke teaming with Isabella Taylor, Isabella Swanson and Chloe Kimes to finish second in the youth female competition over the home New Zealand squad. Despite the strong finish Team USA (youth) sat at 35 points compared to Australia, which amassed 101 points.
During the second day of competition, O’Rourke teamed with Zane Booth to finish second in the board relay below the home New Zealand team.
The International Surf Rescue Challenge was hosted by Surf Life Saving New Zealand and based around a comprehensive competition over three tests including swim, surfboard, surf ski and beach events.
The event was started in 1939 as the Trans-Tasman Series between Australia and New Zealand.