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Winners . . . Darryl Hansen (left), Neil Gibson and Hayden Hastie with their trophy haul. PHOTO: CAROL EDWARDS

A three-man team representing the Oamaru Volunteer Fire Brigade has won the opening round of the 2017-18 South Island Waterways Challenge.

In charge . . . Darryl Hansen relays orders to his team-mates. PHOTO: CAROL EDWARDS

The event pits teams from volunteer fire stations around the South Island against each other in various challenges that put their hose-running and pump-operating skills to the test.

The challenge’s first round was held at Awamoa Park on Saturday.

Oamaru member Darryl Hansen, who was joined by Hayden Hastie and Neil Gibson, said the team went through nine runs on the day and finished first overall, by a slim margin of two seconds.

During a run, teams are required to get their gear set up and blast a target with water in the fastest possible time.

He said the format of the challenge allowed for few errors, and any mistakes made were deducted from a team’s overall number of points.

Unpacking . . . Neil Gibson (left) and Darryl Hansen, of the Oamaru Volunteer Fire Brigade, unload a water pump at the North Otago round of the South Island Waterways Challenge at Awamoa Park on Saturday. PHOTO: CAROL EDWARDS

“Our runs are made up. The teams don’t have any say in what goes on and we’re penalised for any errors.”

Each team tackled the challenges in a different way, which Mr Hansen said added an element of interest to the competition.

“It comes down to the teams. Each team have their own way and that’s what it comes down to, basically – to get that target hit. It’s about who does the round fastest.”

Mr Hansen enjoyed the “hands on” aspect of the challenge, which he said complemented the fire brigade’s other training well.

Other events to be held this year and early next year will be held in Mataura, Bluff, Queenstown, Mosgiel and Kaitangata.

And they’re off . . . Hayden Hastie (left) and Neil Gibson spring into action. PHOTO: CAROL EDWARDS