March 12 - 18, 2017: Issue 304

2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships at Blacksmiths Beach

Georgia Miller - Newport SLSC
Over 2,300 of the state’s finest surf life savers have gathered at Blacksmiths Beach in Lake Macquarie for their chance to etch their name into the history books as the 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships got underway on Friday.

Over 90 of the 129 NSW based clubs will be represented at the three-day championship which is always a highlight on the domestic surf sport calendar.The 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships proudly supported by Your local club are being held at Blacksmiths Beach, Swansea from Friday 10 until Sunday 12 March. 

Sydney Rivalry Ramps Up At Swansea

Tuesday 14 March
Sydney clubs certainly made their presence felt with some exceptional performances at the 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships held at Blacksmiths Beach last weekend.

Newport were too strong for Northern Beaches rivals Manly in the overall club point score taking out the title for the fourth year in succession.

Bate Bay clubs Wanda, North Cronulla, Cronulla and Elouera all enjoyed a strong campaign finishing inside the coveted top 10.

With a number of professional Iron athletes among the Sydney ranks the three-day competition was primed to be a fantastic showdown.

Newport’s Georgia Miller finished her campaign with five gold (including the individual Board, Swim and Ironwoman titles) and a silver medal. Kendrick Louis (Manly) added 5 more medals including the Open Ironman Gold to his collection, while his club mate the evergreen Nathan Smith (Manly) enjoyed a memorable weekend finishing with four golds.

Young guns Chris King (Elouera U17), Lizzie Welborn (North Bondi U19), and Jacob Lollback Memorial Trophy winner for the second straight summer Charlie Brooks (Newport) all showed that the Board race will continue to strengthen in Sydney well into the future.

On the sand there was a number of strong performances led by Isabellah Walker (Cronulla U15s) her team mate Chloe Mannix-Power (U17s) who powered to her third straight title in progressive age groups, and rising star Sophie McGovern (North Curl Curl) who won the U19s before backing up to take silver in the Opens behind Laura Shorter (Newport).

In the men’s beach events Jake Lynch (Newport) won his third state crown in the Open Sprint holding off club mate Blake Drysdale and former winner Dean Scarff (Collaroy). Drysdale would go on to get his individual gold in the Open Flags.

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

The NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships, proudly supported by Your local club returns to Blacksmiths Beach, Swansea in 2018 from Feb 24 – March 11 for another exciting year of competition.

State Champs Sign Off With Super Sunday

Sunday 12 March
There wasn’t a cloud in the dazzlingly blue sky as the final medals of the 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships were decided at Blacksmiths Beach on Sunday.

A sea of colour was on display at the famous Lake Macquarie Beach as the first medals of the day were decided in the traditional March Past Competition.

Collaroy Ladies were declared the winner in the Mixed Open Division ahead of North Cronulla and the Collaroy Bears. North Bondi was judged the best in the U23s while Maroubra took out the U17s.

With the beach program done and dusted for another season it was time for the water athletes to shine and they didn’t disappoint with an exceptional display of racing in what ultimately turned out to be the tamest conditions of the championships.

Bella Williams (Cooks Hill) backed up her medal winning performance at last weekend’s age titles with gold in the U15 Surf Race with Riley Dixon (Wanda) another to repeat his success by taking out the U15 Ironman title to go with his U14 crown.

Manly’s Madison Ward took out the U15 Ironwoman, and Hayley Smith (Cudgen Headland) was crowned champion on the Board.

Zach Morris took out the U15 Male Surf Race while hosts Swansea Belmont enjoyed success in the Board Race thanks to Nicholas Stoddart’s gold medal and Kyle Lehmann’s silver.

Newport’s Olivia Heaton held out Keeley Booth (Avoca Beach) in the U17 Surf Race and also won the Single Ski Event. Naomi Scott (Manly) was too strong for Nicola Owen (Redhead) and Manly’s Emily Doyle in the U17 Ironwoman, while Umina’s Jazmyn Rodwell claimed the Board Race.

Medals were also shared around in the U17 Male Races with Jake Evans (Elouera – Board), Matthew Sperring (Warilla-Barrack Point – Ironman) and Oscar Jones (Manly – Board) among the winners.

With a number of the U19s getting their first taste of the elite level this season the scene was set for a blockbuster competition, and the emerging stars lived up to that billing.

In a closely fought Ironwoman North Bondi’s Lizzie Welborn did enough to hold off Jemma Smith (Umina) and Redhead’s Lily Costello. Smith reversed the result in the Ski finishing ahead of Ella Beere (Avoca Beach) and Jayde Bagnall (Avoca Beach).

Jackson Borg (Newport) took out the U19 Ironman while club mate Charlie Brooks took out the Single Ski and also won the Jacob Lollback trophy for the second straight season when he won the Board Race. In the other memorial trophy event Shelly Beach’s James de Vries won the U19 Surf Race which honours champion Queenscliff competitor the late Saxon Bird.

In the Open Women’s Iron Georgia Miller (Newport) held off a strong field that included silver medallist Naomi Scott (Manly) and bronze medallist Jemma Smith (Umina). Miller backed up her win with gold in the Surf and Board Races.

In the Open Ironman Kendrick Louis (Manly) did enough to hold off club mate Jay Furniss and Redhead’s Daniel Collins. Competing for his new club Stuart McLachlan (Manly) found himself in familiar territory taking out the gold in the Board Race ahead of Scott McCartney (Cudgen Headland).

Avoca’s Lachlan Tame held off Kendrick Louis to win gold in the Open Ski Race to claim his first state title since 2013.

In the Open Taplin Relays Manly was too strong for Redhead and Newport in the Men’s division and Umina claimed gold in the women ahead of Newport and Manly.

After a great opening two days of competition, Newport was too strong for Branch rivals Manly, topping the overall point score for a fourth straight year.

The NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club will be returning to Blacksmiths Beach, Swansea in 2018.

Open Championships – Final Point Score
1 Newport SLSC 425
2 Manly LSC 343
3 Wanda SLSC 202
4 North Cronulla SLSC 174
5 Cronulla SLSC 144
6 Umina SLSC 128
7 Redhead SLSC 115
8 Avoca Beach SLSC 112
9 Freshwater SLSC 93
10 Elouera SLSC 89

14 Collaroy SLSC 60
16 Queenscliff SLSC 38
21 South Curl Curl SLSC 26
26 Palm Beach SLSC (NSW) 20
31 Avalon Beach SLSC 9
33 Mona Vale SLSC 7
35 Bilgola SLSC 4
37 North Narrabeen SLSC Inc. 2

The 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships proudly supported by Your local club concludes at Blacksmiths Beach, Swansea with the third and final day of action on Sunday 12 March.

Beach Stars Light Up Track

Saturday March 11, 2017
A full program of Beach Events and a number of team Water Events headlined a scintillating second day of action at the 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships at Blacksmiths Beach in Lake Macquarie on Saturday.

On the back of a dominant day on the sand Newport surged to the overall lead in the club point-score ahead of Manly with Bate Bay clubs Wanda, Cronulla and North Cronulla rounding out the top five.

A sizeable crowd gathered at the ClubsNSW Arena to watch the cream of the sand battle it out for glory and a slight tailwind promised fast times.

In the U15 Sprint Finals Isabellah Walker (Cronulla) and Keeghan Norwood (Mollymook) were crowned champions. Cronulla’s Chloe Mannix-Power powered her way to her third straight title in the U17s while Michael Hanna (Elouera) was first past-the-post in the men’s.

North Curl Curl’s Sophie McGovern showed a clean pair of heels to take out a hotly contested U19 Final before backing up 20 minutes later to take silver in the Open Race.

Mollymook’s Tim Burgmann showed no lasting effects of a leg injury that has sidelined him for the better part of last season to claim gold in the U19 Male Race.

While in the Open Women’s veterans Laura Shorter (Newport) who shrugged off the effects of a back injury and Davina Strauss (Coledale) racing to the gold and bronze medal respectively only to be split by rising star Sophie McGovern.

“That victory was totally unexpected. It was nice for myself and Davina to get among the medals but full credit to the young girls they were absolutely fantastic and really put the pressure on us,” said Laura Shorter.

So close was the Men’s Open Sprint that a blanket could have been thrown over first three finishers. In the end Newport’s Jake Lynch was given the nod by the judges which secured his third Open crown with clubmate Blake Drysdale and Dean Scarff joining him on the podium.

Open Male Beach Sprint Jake Lynch 1st, Blake Drysdale 2nd, Dean Scarff 3rd.

“It was great to race with Blake – he’s probably the quickest starter in the country so to have him in the lane next to me really got me off to a good start. I think for me today’s race was all about holding my form and staying relaxed particularly over that last 20 metres,” said Jake Lynch.

With almost the entire field of each age group backing up for the Beach Flags it promised to be a highly competitive event.

Alex Rampoldi (Cronulla) claimed gold in the Open Female Flags with Katie Williams (Newport) and Davina Strauss joining her on the podium.

Blake Drysdale earned his second individual medal of the day by taking out the Open Male Event.

Other Flag winners included Thirroul’s Jazmine Yew (U17s), Sam Zustovich (Mollymook U15s) and Cronulla’s Ngaire Hadfield (U19s).

Freshwater and Collaroy had a successful day in the traditional R & R events which were conducted earlier on Saturday.

Collaroy claimed gold in the combined U14/15 2 Person Event and the Open 5 Person Event, while Freshwater won the Open Male 5 Person R & R.

A number of team events were contested in the water on Day 2 with one of the highlights being the U19 Female Taplin Relay. Umina’s Jemma Smith, Rachel Wood, and Jazmyn Rodwell needed all their skills to take gold in the race finishing ahead of Wanda and Newport.

Redhead enjoyed success in the U19 Male Surf Teams race with Hayden Copping, Lucas Corrigan, Justin McMorland and Lucas Soars joining forces to take home gold, while Newport took out the Open Female Race.

Manly fielded a very strong team in the Male Open Race with Ironmen Kendrick Louis, Jay Furniss, and Nathan Smith joining Evan Stratton to claim the title.

A strong swell meant there were plenty of waves for the Ski Paddlers to negotiate throughout the day with the Relay Finals being tightly fought.

Newport were too strong for Redhead and Umina in the U19 Female Single Ski Relay with the Sydney Northern Beaches club also taking out the Male Race in that division ahead of Manly and North Bondi.

In the Male Open Ski Relay Avoca Beach was boosted by the inclusion of Olympians Lachlan Tame and Riley Fitzsimmons and with Robert McIntyre also paddling a fantastic leg the team took gold ahead of Redhead and Manly.

Open Championships – Progressive Point Score
Newport SLSC 231
Manly LSC 139
Wanda SLSC 136
Cronulla SLSC 132
North Cronulla SLSC 95
Freshwater SLSC 88
Umina SLSC 81
Coogee SLSC 76
Mollymook Surf Life Saving Club 66 v
North Bondi SLSC 50

The 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships proudly supported by Your local club concludes at Blacksmiths Beach, Swansea with the third and final day of action on Sunday 12 March.

Opens Shine On Day One

Friday 10 March
They may have had to wait a few hours for competition to commence, but the Open athletes certainly showed their skills in the surf on an exciting first day of action at the 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships at Blacksmiths Beach on Friday.

After a delayed start due to the surf conditions a revised timetable was implemented with only six medal events to be decided in the water on the opening day of competition.

In what was a tightly contested U19 Female Surf Race Umina teammates Jemma Smith and Rachel Wood claimed gold and silver respectively with Wanda’s Lauren McMahon finishing third.

North Bondi’s Lizzie Welborn proved too strong in the U19 Board powering home on a wave ahead of Britney Pierce (Wanda) and Redhead’s Lily Costello.

In the U19 Male Surf Race James De Vries from Shelly Beach on the state’s Central Coast took home the gold medal in what was his first individual title ahead of Lachlan O’Reilly (Coffs Harbour) and Evan Stratton (Manly).

The U19 Male Board Race saw Newport’s Charlie Brooks take home gold ahead of Luke Chaffer (Cudgen Headland) and Zak Van Dartel from Terrigal who earned bronze spot on the podium. The U17s also saw finals contested in the male and female Surf Race on Friday.

Olivia Heaton (Newport) finished ahead of Keeley Booth (Avoca Beach) and Jamie Prowse (North Curl Curl), while the men’s race was taken out by Elouera’s Jake Evans with Kai Onley (Cudgen Headland) and Matthew Melhuish (Newport) earning silver and bronze respectively.

In the early rounds of the Open races it was all about securing an all important position in Sunday’s finals so the athletes were happy to conserve energy as they have a very full program of racing over the next few days. Manly’s Nathan Smith was impressive in the heat of the Open Board while club mate and fellow Ironman Kendrick Louis was in top form across his events.

Having started his career at Swansea Belmont Isak Costello is more familiar than most with the conditions and he took full advantage of his knowledge to qualify for the next round of the Open Board Race, although he did have a few anxious moments when a surging wave allowed many of his opponents to make up ground.

After winning the 40-44 Female 2KM Beach Run on Wednesday Swansea’s Angela Leadbeatter was gunning for her eighth state title in the Open Division. In front of a cheering home crowd including her friends and family she powered to victory to take the host club’s first gold of Open Championships.

Newport SLSC’s Charlie Brooks

Open Championships – Progressive Point Score
Manly LSC 61
Newport SLSC 57
Freshwater SLSC 47
Umina SLSC 44
Bronte SLSC 23

The 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships proudly supported by Your local club continues at Blacksmiths Beach, Swansea with the second day of action on Saturday 11 March

Open Athletes Eye Off State Glory

Thursday 9 March 2017
Over 2,300 of the state’s finest surf life savers will gather at Blacksmiths Beach in Lake Macquarie tomorrow for their chance to etch their name into the history books as the 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships gets underway on Friday.

Over 90 of the 129 NSW based clubs will be represented at the three-day championship from tomorrow which is always a highlight on the domestic surf sport calendar.

The open athletes (those in the U15,17, 19, and open age groups) have been very interested spectators as first the Age and then Master Championships have been held in challenging conditions and will be hoping for a fair swell which will allow them to show of the full range of their skills.
Clubs from Sydney Northern Beaches and Sydney will field the largest team with 802 and 759 competitors registered respectively. Rival powerhouse clubs Newport and Manly are expected to go head-to-head in yet another titanic struggle.

With both clubs fielding plenty of talent including athletes who have represented Australia and competed on the professional Iron circuit this should be an intriguing battle to watch.

Central Coast will be sending over 200 athletes with a mixture of young up and coming athletes and more established stars such as Jemma Smith and Olympian Lachlan Tame. Buoyed by home advantage, Hunter will be fielding a squad of 202 competitors.

Hosts Swansea Belmont have named 43 athletes to start including Eliza Johnson who will be competing at her first Open Championship after performing strongly in her final Nippers carnival last weekend. The Redhead pair of Isak Costello and Dan Collins will be full of confidence after their maiden performance on the Ironman circuit and will be out to prove themselves against their key rivals.

Around 150 athletes from the Far North Coast through to Lower North Coast will be heading south to Lake Macquarie and with a group of these involved in Cudgen Headland’s drought-breaking win at last month’s Stramit Country Championships they will be quietly confidence of putting in a strong performance.

Just over 100 athletes will be travelling from clubs around the Illawarra and the results of their branch championships suggests they are primed for a good performance on the big stage. Illawarra have traditionally produced excellent beach sprinters and this was reinforced one more last week at the Junior Championships; something that there senior colleagues will be undoubtedly hoping to emulate.

In a pleasing sign there is a small yet committed contingent of athletes travelling from Southern NSW.

A group of 60 from clubs including Mollymook and Warilla-Barrack Point will make the trip. A number of these athletes including Matt Sperring, Maddison Prior and Jordan White were selected in the all-conquering NSW Country team that were victorious in the Trans-Tasman Series in New Zealand earlier this year.

They may have the furthest to travel as the crow flies but the 21 athletes from the Far South Coast including Broulee Surfers won’t be making up the numbers as they look to the challenge of testing themselves against the best from NSW – something that only happens on occasions due to the tyranny of distance.

NSW Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon is looking forward to the Open Championship. “We’ve seen some excellent competition over the past week in Age and Masters, and I am sure our Open competitors have been aware of how they have been handling the conditions. “I think we’re in for an excellent few days of racing and I would like to wish all athletes and officials the very best of luck,” Mr Pidgeon said.

The 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships proudly supported by Your local club will be held at Blacksmiths Beach, Swansea from Friday 10 until Sunday 12 March. Competition will commence on Day 1 at approximately 8am AEDT subject to conditions.

Jay Furniss - Manly LSC

First Aid Glory For Lifesavers

Friday March 10, 2017
The 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships ended on a high-note in the First Aid competition last weekend with Freshwater SLSC enjoying plenty of success.

The First Aid Competition tests the participant’s knowledge and skills of a variety of situations. To score top points they need to be able to assess the condition of a patient and treat them in accordance with standard procedures.

Each team consists of two persons, and only the first three teams earned the right to compete at next month’s Aussies.

The team of Cheryl White and Kelly Dobrow (Freshwater SLSC) took out the Open Competition for the second straight year finishing just ahead of Manly and Queenscliff.

In the U19s it was an all Freshwater final with Emma Smith and Emma Schooley combining to take the win over Tahlia Dearden and Julia Baker.

Competing in their first ever First Aid competition it was the team from Umina who impressed the judges most in the U15s with Lily Perry and Grace Talty doing enough to secure the gold medal ahead of Manly who claimed the two minor placings.

Championship Referee Barry Antella OAM said the 2017 Surf Life Championships at Blacksmiths Beach was a success.

“It’s been a really successful competition and great to see the new teams come along after performing strongly at the Branch Championships,” Barry Antella said.

“What was positive as well was seeing a lot of our competitors in the Open Division officiating the younger ones. This is really useful as they have a good knowledge of the competition and the skills and techniques needed to be successful in the First Aid Championships.”

In a first for Lifesaving, a new system of marking was incorporated in 2017 for the theory paper with the aim of speeding up what is traditionally a very labour intensive process.

“The new system of marking papers was well received by the officials as it saved them a lot of time. I think everyone enjoyed the Life Saving Championships overall and we’re quietly confident that all of our competitors heading to Aussies will put in a good performance,” Mr Antella said.

The 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships proudly supported by your Local Club continues at Blacksmiths Beach, Swansea will be held from February 25 – March 12 and incorporates the Lifesaving, Age, Masters, and Open Championships.

Australia's Top Ranked Open Surfboat Crews Are Both From NSW!

Saturday March 11, 2017
Bulli Gelcon and Sth Curl Curl Straw Hat Pirates were presented with the ASRL Navy leaders vests at the NSW Championships at Swansea Belmont by Graham Ford, President of SLSA.

The surfboats hit the beach today, racing in challenging conditions at Blacksmiths Beach, with NSW Champions to be crowned on Sunday in all divisions.

The Crew of the Year will be awarded at The Aussies on the Gold Coast in three weeks time. Go NSW crews!

OPEN MEN - Bulli Gelcon 
Sweep Shane Geloven 
Stroke Dean Roberts 
2nd Stroke Heath Mercer 
2nd Bow Ben Lowe 
Bow Fraser Worthington

OPEN WOMEN - Sth Curl Curl Straw Hat Pirates 
Sweep Mark Spiteri 
Stroke Ashley Richards 
2nd Stroke Charlotte Walters 
2nd Bow Emma Costello 
Bow Ellie Winstanley

Taylar Puskaric - Manly LSC

Reports and photos by Surf Life Saving New South Wales, 2017.