IN AN event that boasted arguably one of the strongest start lists of the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships held at Blacksmiths Beach at the weekend, Urunga’s Tahlia Kollen finished fourth in the U19 Ironwoman.
Max Shaw from Bellinger-Valley North Beach also became a finalist when he raced to 5th position in the U15 Beach Sprint. And Finn Askew from South West Rocks was the lone medallist from Tacking Point when he won silver in the U15 male 2km Beach Run.
Cudgen Headland was the best performed club from the area finishing an impressive 15th place overall but showed signs that the coveted top 10 is not beyond their reach.
Hayley Smith (Cudgen Headland) earned two gold medals during the competition winning individual gold in the U15 Board Race and then joining her teammates Paige Leishman and Sophie Watson to take out the U15 Board Relay.
The competitors from Kingscliff also picked up a number of silver medals throughout the 3-day competition with Scott McCartney (Open Board), Nadi Canning (Open Ski), Luke Chaffer (U19 Board), Rory Matthews (U17 Board), and Kai Onley (U17 Surf Race) all earning a place on the podium.
Byron Bay’s Brad Hunt secured bronze in the U17 Male Beach Sprint Race while the Cabarita duo of Claudia Crawford (U17) and Cahrizma Macdonald (U15) were both finalists in their respective Beach Sprints.
Sawtell and Coffs Harbour led the way for clubs from the North Coast Branch with Lachlan O’Reilly (Coffs Harbour) surging to an impressive silver medal in the U19 Surf Race. He then teamed up with his brother Sean and Jack Pavey to help their U19 Taplin Relay side qualify for the final where they finished in 5th spot in what was a tough field.
The U15 Female Board Relay team from Sawtell which consisted of Aoife Carey, Alyssa Golding and Kate Murray also picked up a medal behind Cudgen Headland in a race that highlighted the strength of country athletes in that age group.
NSW Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon felt that despite a challenging start due to the conditions, the State Championships put an exclamation point on what has been another successful summer for the sport.
“I would like to congratulate everyone for what was an extremely successful Open Championships and can safely say that we were all treated to a wonderful few days of racing that while extremely competitive was always conducted in the right spirit.
“There’s a lot to like about the performance of our athletes and I think that next month’s Australian Championships is shaping up to be a big one for NSW competitors.” Mr Pidgeon said.
2017 Open Championship Club Point Score:
Newport SLSC 425
Manly LSC 343
Wanda SLSC 202
North Cronulla SLSC 174
Cronulla SLSC 144
Umina SLSC 128
Redhead SLSC 115
Avoca Beach SLSC 112
Freshwater SLSC 93
Elouera SLSC 89