March 4 - 10, 2018: Issue 350

Youngsters Gearing Up For State Championships Glory: Surf Life Saving 2018

Congratulations to Avalon Beach SLSC's Ava Roberts, State Champion in the Under 12 Girls Beach Flags event.

Youngsters Gearing Up For State Champs Glory

Thursday 1 March 2018

 The wait is almost over for the more than 2,000 youngsters who will be competing for medals and glory at the 2018 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships which get underway in Lake Macquarie from Friday.

The 3-day event is proudly supported by Your local club and will once again be hosted by Swansea Belmont SLSC at the beautiful Blacksmiths Beach.

It is an event eagerly circled each season on the calendar (or phone) of every athlete with many of surf’s most successful athletes including several Olympians starting their competitive journeys at these Championships.

This year Manly Life Saving Club will once again be the club to beat after finishing first overall in the last eight NSW Age Championships.

The first of those wins was in fact at Swansea Belmont when the club hosted the State Titles in 2010 and the club certainly has fond memories of this beach.

Despite the long-term dominance of the Northern Beaches powerhouse, the gap is closing at the top.

Last year Wanda and Elouera SLSC were coming hot on their heels in the race for podium honours, and with Cooks Hill and Swansea Belmont both putting in commendable performances to finish fourth and fifth respectively in 2017, many are predicting a competitive finish.

Hosts Swansea Belmont have entered a strong team of 89 competitors and the athletes will be out to make the most of their hometown knowledge including defending gold medallist Ty Leadbeatter and Kaitlin Rees who won a bronze in her first State Titles in the U9 Swim.

Swansea Belmont won’t have it all their own way in what is shaping up to be a titanic battle for Hunter supremacy as rivals Cooks Hill are full of confidence after performing strongly in recent years.

After enjoying a stellar few seasons at the previous State Champs hosted by Ocean Beach-Umina, no Central Coast club finished in the top five last season - a result which will surely fire up this proud branch.

The battle between heavyweights Avoca Beach, Umina and Terrigal looms as an intriguing subplot but as always in surf anything can happen, and competitors from the smaller clubs will undoubtedly fancy their chances against their bigger rivals.

Illawarra athletes will be in action with Bulli, North Wollongong and Bellambi all fielding strong teams who are coming off great performances in their recent branch titles.

The regional clubs will be well represented after enjoying a highly successful Country Championships at South West Rocks in early February.

A strong representation from the North Coast clubs making the trip include Country Champions Cudgen Headland and Sawtell, who are out to ensure that their Southern rivals won’t have it all their own way.

The finest athletes from South Coast clubs will be giving it their all for a chance to be crowned the best in the state during the Championships with Warilla-Barrack Point and Kiama Downs well represented.

Despite the challenge of living the farthest away from the competition venue, the four athletes selected to represent both Broulee Surfers and Pambula surf clubs will be eager to test their skills against their young counterparts from across the state.

Surf Life Saving NSW Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon feels the experience that Swansea Belmont has as hosts will be crucial in the successful staging of the event.

“We are delighted to once again be back at Blacksmiths Beach for what promises to be a highly entertaining three-days of racing in a great setting with amiable hosts in the club and Lake Macquarie City Council.  

“The State Championships are always eagerly anticipated by our young members who will be looking forward to testing themselves against the best competitors from around the state in a diverse range of events, and we certainly wish them all the very best of luck,” Mr. Pidgeon said.

From Surf Life Saving New South Wales


Friday 2 March 2018
There were smiles all round as Nipper competitors at Day One of the 2018 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships were crowned NSW Champions on the beach and in the water.

Proudly supported by Your local club and hosted by Swansea Belmont SLSC at Lake Macquarie, the fantastic surf conditions and sunshine made for fast racing for thousands of competitors from clubs throughout the state. Over the three days of junior competition, more than 2500 young lifesavers will go for glory across a range of events, from board, swim and ironperson racing, to beach sprints, flags and relays.

The action packed Beach Flag competition decided medallists in every age category, from Under 9s to Under 14s. While there were many familiar faces on the podium from previous years, a number of upsets left some of the favourites disappointed.

In the U13 boys final, reigning beach flag and sprint champion Malikye Kessie from Sth Maroubra was forced to pull out when he re-injured his hip after having spent five weeks recovering from a painful tendon/bone condition.

The pain and disappointment was clear on the face of the talented sprinter, unable to defend his title, however it left the field wide open for the remaining finalists. In the end it was Coogee’s Ethan Smith who took the gold. It was a bittersweet victory as the two are friends and Ethan placed second to Malikye at last year’s event. “I just really wanted to do it for Malikye,” said Ethan after the race.

Samuel Ferguson - Dee Why (left)

Avalon Beach SLSC’s Ava Roberts also stormed home to take the gold from last year’s winner in the U12 Female Beach Flags, Nina van der Reyden from Manly who ended up third with Yasmeen Janschek from Coogee claiming silver.

Ava’s motivation going into the event was particularly high as her dad Dave had promised to take her with him when he flies to Canada on Monday for work if she won.

“The competition is so tough, but today was her day for sure,” said a happy dad, admitting he may well struggle to find a suitable replacement reward for his daughter when he breaks it to her that she unfortunately won’t be ditching school to jump on the plane on Monday!

The best performing locals were hosts Swansea Belmont, who notched up a couple of great results with a first in the U10 boys Beach Flags by Samuel Govender and gold in the U9 boys Board Relay event. Cooks Hill had wins in the water in the U9 and U10 Female Surf races and the Board Relay team was first across the line in the U10 event.

Upsets continue in the overall pointscore, with Elouera SLSC on top after day one and reigning champions Manly, sitting in eighth spot on the ladder. Last year’s third place getters will be fired up to make the most of the lead and host club Swansea Belmont is celebrating sitting in fourth place ahead of many larger city rivals.

With plenty more racing over the next two days still to come, the field is wide open and it could come down to the finals on Sunday to see who will take home the trophy for 2018.

Elouera SLSC                    71
Cronulla SLSC                   59
Wanda SLSC                     37
Swansea Belmont SLSC   30
Cooks Hill SLSC                29
Coogee SLSC                   29
North Curl Curl SLSC        24
North Cronulla SLSC         23
Manly LSC                          21
Freshwater SLSC             18
Wamberal SLSC               16

From Surf Life Saving New South Wales
Nina van der Reyden - Manly LSC


Saturday 3 March 2018
On Day Two of the 2018 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, Elouera SLSC continued its winning streak to retain the top place on the pointscore at Swansea Belmont SLSC.

Cronulla, Cooks Hill and Wanda finished the day just points apart and with three Bate Bay clubs in the top four, the final day of the Championships, proudly supported by Your local club, looks to be a nail biter.

With teams events the order the day, club camaraderie was running high as relays on the beach track and in the water areas drew big crowds of enthusiastic spectators and anxious team managers, coaches and parents.

Newport SLSC began to make its presence felt with their dominant water competitors able to hit their stride. Mitchell and Jake Morris pipped the Avoca duo to win the U13 Board Rescue and was part of the winning Board Relay team, the U14s also claimed gold in their Board Rescue, Board Relay and the Surf Teams event and the aptly-titled Fab 4 team won the U13 Surf Teams. Manly was able to claw its way up the ladder to finish in fifth spot with wins in the U12 Male Board Relay team and the U11 Female Beach Relay.

Jake Morris - Newport SLSC

But it was the sheer weight of teams and competitors from Elouera across a range of events that kept the points coming in, with the girls getting gold in the U9 and U10 Surf Teams, U9 Board Relay and U13 Surf Teams. The U14 Male Beach Relay team also won their event.

Local Hunter club Cooks Hill performed confidently against the large Sydney clubs to end in third spot with a host of great results including the U12 Female Surf Teams, the U12 Female Board Rescue and Board Relay, the U10 Female Board Relay and Daisy Breasley backed up her win in the U10 swim yesterday with a gold in the Board Race.

The U11 boys teams from Swansea Belmont were ecstatic with getting first and third in the Board Relay and first in the U11 Board Rescue and U9 Board Relay.

Lifesavers also showed their skills in the traditional Rescue and Resuscitation events, with wins in the 2 and 5 person events by Collaroy, Coogee and Wanda.

The final day of competition at the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships begins with the ceremonial March Past event, leading into a swag of finals across all areas which will decide who will take home the trophy for 2018.

Elouera SLSC                  141
Cronulla SLSC                 114
Cooks Hill SLSC              105
Wanda SLSC                   102
Manly LSC                          98
North Curl Curl SLSC        93
Swansea Belmont SLSC  90
Coogee SLSC                   89
North Bondi SLSC             83
Newport SLSC                   52

From Surf Life Saving New South Wales


Sunday 4 March 2018
After leading from the start, the Elouera SLSC juniors have taken out the 2018 NSW Age Surf Life Saving Championships at Swansea Belmont, breaking the eight year winning streak of the mighty Manly LSC.

It was a spectacular end to the three-day battle between more than 89 clubs throughout the state, with the southern Sydney club finishing just five points in front of Newport and local Hunter club Cooks Hill two points behind them.

It was extremely tight at the top of the pointscore with the result coming down to the final few races to decide the outcome. Newport mounted a mighty effort in the water on finals day to skyrocket from eighth place to second, narrowly missing out on the top billing.

At the trophy presentation after competition concluded, the ecstatic Elouera team loudly celebrated their first ever NSW Age title.

Elouera Junior Director Michael Randazzo could not be happier, saying their goal to win the Championships was set last year and the team pulled out all stops to make it happen.

”The standout for me was on Friday afternoon in the 1 km beach run where our girls came first, second, third and fifth which blew us away. We knew they were going to be strong but to get four in the top five was incredible.

“We are going to celebrate this year first and then work out the plan going forward, but no doubt the kids will be up there again next year, Swansea has been a good venue for us so we are looking forward to next year,” said Michael Randazzo.

Cooks Hill did one better than last year’s fourth place, however losing by just two points to the dominant Sydney Northern Beaches club Newport was a frustrating finish to a mighty effort from the Hunter powerhouse.

Cooks Hill Team Manager Michael Clancy said the kids had put in a huge effort and had done everything expected of them.

“The depth of talent we have at the moment across all the age groups is really what it comes down to,” he said.

In their final nippers year, the dominance of Joel Piper from Newport and Lily O’Sullivan from Cudgen Headland in the U14s was pronounced. Both athletes took the trifecta of Board, Swim and Iron titles and contributed to a heap of team events results for their clubs. Piper in fact ended up wearing seven gold medals around his neck and was backed up in the U13s by the Morris twins, Mitch and Jake and Bailey Clues in the key water events for Newport.

A far less prominent Sydney Northern Beaches club also put in a huge effort to sneak into sixth spot, with the team from Nth Curl Curl showing great strength, particularly in the U10 and U11 age groups.

Manly made its mark felt on day three of the event, with good results in the water, however it was not enough to catch the clubs at the top. Great performances were seen by Connor and Noah Maggs and Josh Gedz. In the end the club tied for fourth place with arch rivals Cronulla.

In local results, aside from the third placed Cooks Hill, the host club Swansea Belmont finished in ninth spot and the best performing Central Coast club was Avoca Beach in 12th.

The winner of the Country club pointscore was Cudgen Headland SLSC who finished in 13th position.

The State Championships continue on Wednesday 7 March when the Masters competitors come to town and the Open competition action happens over three days from Friday 9 March.

Proudly supported by Your local club and the Lake Macquarie City Council, the 2018 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships sees almost 7000 competitors from all over the state, joined by more than 500 volunteer officials and thousands of spectators and supporters, go for glory on the shores of beautiful Blacksmiths Beach. 

Elouera SLSC                   179
Newport SLSC                  174
Cooks Hill SLSC               172
Cronulla SLSC                   165
Manly LSC                          165
Wanda SLSC                     160
North Curl Curl SLSC        159
Coogee SLSC                   149
North Bondi SLSC             140
Swansea Belmont SLSC  132
South Maroubra SLSC        92

Reports and Photographs by Surf Life Saving NSW