March 11 - 17, 2018: Issue 351

2018 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships:

Masters and Opens Events

The 2018 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club continues at Blacksmiths Beach, Swansea Belmont from 7 - 11 March with the Masters and Open Competition.

Over 1,000 of the state's finest Masters athletes took to Swansea-Belmont SLSC for the 2018 NSW Masters Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club. Here's a few of the highlights!


Wednesday 7 March 2018

Mother Nature threw up a challenge with a surging swell and swirly wind, but the veteran competitors relished the conditions during what was a sizzling first day of action at the 2018 NSW Masters Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club.

In what is shaping up to be the battle for Bondi, Bondi Surf Bathers proved to be the early pacesetters racing to first place by the end of the day’s proceedings.

Defending champions North Bondi SLSC are sitting in second with Redhead surging to third on the back of some encouraging results.

Individual events were the focus of day one with the competition commencing under strikingly blue skies, and the presence of a strong shore dump certainly made things interesting as competitors negotiated the tricky conditions.

It was a solid day of racing for Trent Martin (MacMasters Beach) who took home medals in all five of his events including gold in the 30-34 Surf Race, Ironman and Board Race.

Other winners in the highly competitive age group included Redhead’s Adam Rowe (Ski), North Bondi’s Dean Scarrf who claimed the Beach Sprint/Flag double, and Quentin Reeve (Palm Beach) who was first past the post in the 2KM Beach Run.

Quentin Reeve (Palm Beach)

Some of the female athletes who enjoyed success included North Bondi’s Eloise Starr (Rescue Tube Rescue), Nicole Jones (Beach Sprint), and Emily Gillies (Ski).

“It was an awesome race fantastic to get my first ski gold. The start really set us up perfectly and there was a lot of whitewash to navigate,” said Gillies.

Wednesday proved busy for the Bondi lifesaver who also took gold in the 30-34 Board Race, bronze in the Board Race, and silver in the Rescue Tube Rescue and Ironwoman.

Other water athletes to shine included Terrigal’s Paul Lemmon who took home gold in the 50-54 Surf Race, Rescue Tube Rescue, and Ironman events, and former Aussies Ironman Champion Robert Chapman (Bondi Surf Bathers) who won gold in the 60-64 Iron and Surf Races and finished just outside the medals in the Rescue Tube Rescue.

Blacksmiths is proving to be a happy hunting ground for Mei-Ling Venning who claimed three gold medals in the 70+ Surf Race, Beach Sprint and Flag events to back up her performances from 2017. Club mates Barbara Attard and Wendy McNamara were among a host of Toowoon Bay athletes to stand on the podium.  

Also enjoying the conditions was North Avoca’s Kim Findlay who claimed bronze in the 35-39 Rescue Tube, Ski, and Board Races before storming home to convincingly win the Ironwoman.

“It was great to get a win today as this is what I train for. Training has been going really well we have a great group at North Avoca and with a full program scheduled it’s fantastic to be back in the water,” she said.

There was action on the beach too with a number of impressive results as the athletes loosened their hamstrings and channelled their inner Usain Bolt to scorch the track on the way to sprint or flag glory.

Melanie Brock (Manly)

Male Winners on the track included Rubin Ruzicka (Newport), Nigel Kassulke (Manly), and Maxwell Murphy (South Maroubra).

While Davina Strauss (Coledale), Sophie Stokes (Mona Vale), and Robyn Henderson (Queenscliff) also medalled in their respective events.

Right; Sophie Stokes (Mona Vale)

Competition was fierce in the Beach Flags as expected and with the event’s first aiders subtly moving into position in case they were needed the athletes had no hesitation in putting their bodies on the line.  

One of the most closely fought races was the Male’s 40-44 event eventually taken out by Wade Alcock (Caves Beach) who did just enough to hold off Warriewood’s Ben Hargy.

“It was very competitive the boys certainly pushed me all the way. It’s great to compete at a familiar beach, the sand was very soft which made it challenging but fortunately I managed to convince the officials to let us run with that wind rather than against it,” Alcock said.

The 2018 NSW Masters Championships, proudly supported by Your local club continues tomorrow Thursday 8 March with the team events. Action kicks off at 8:00am AEDT

Day One Masters Point Score

Bondi Surf Bathers LSC – 310

North Bondi SLSC – 221

Redhead SLSC – 148

Queenscliff SLSC – 131

Coogee SLSC – 131

Toowoon Bay SLSC – 120

Umina Beach SLSC – 108

Manly LSC – 98

Palm Beach SLSC - 87

Mona Vale SLSC - 83

Fiona Rae (Palm Beach SLSC) Jan Proudfoot (Newport SLSC) and Paula Tocquer (Mona Vale SLSC).

Team Palm Beach

Palm Beach SLSC Masters Division - just a few medals again this year!
Paula Tocquer, Kris Monnock and Sophie Stokes (Mona Vale SLSC)


Thursday 8 March 2018

Australia’s most iconic beach location boasts two surf life saving clubs and both have taken their place on the podium at the 2018 NSW Masters Surf Life Saving Championships at Blacksmiths Beach.

Bondi Surf Bathers LSC, arguably Australia’s oldest surf life saving club, eclipsed its rivals this year to claim the top spot, finishing well ahead of second place getter and neighbouring club, North Bondi SLSC.

With only a handful of points still to be counted from the Masters surfboat event yet to be contested, Bondi safely celebrated their victory at Swansea Belmont SLSC after two days of all out competition.

For the first time in four years, a newcomer has broken into the top three which has been dominated by Bondi, Nth Bondi and Queenscliff who have taken it in turns to take the title. The team from Redhead SLSC managed to push Queenscliff out into fourth spot with some great performances in the water events, especially the skis.

But it was the distinctive navy blue and white caps that kept coming across the line for Bondi that made it almost impossible for other clubs to make their mark. Last year’s winner North Bondi mounted a mighty effort but even deep-seated rivalry wasn’t enough to retain the trophy.

Legend surf athlete and former Australian Champion Ironman Bob Chapman had a great return to racing, collecting gold in the 60-64 year Surf Race and Ironman and bronze in the 150 years Surf Team and Ski Relay with his new club mates.

In his first State Masters hitout with new club Bondi, ‘Chapo’ said that although he was a bit rusty at some of the finer points of ironman racing, he was really enjoying competing again. Chapman is coaching the younger competitors and is using his expertise in an effort to rebuild competition capacity at the club.

“It’s been a great couple of days. It’s good to be competing again, I’m loving the training and all I need now is a couple of new knees,” said the former Open Champion.

Other Bondi competitors on the podium included Dean Gladstone, Ryan Jenkin and Simon Nothling in the 35-39 years, Blake Francis, Calvin Brodie, Robert Harvey, Greg Brynes and William Hardman in the 40-49 years and Iain Macfarlane in the 35-39 Beach Sprint. Fiona Nay and Fiona Tschaut were gold and silver in the 35-39 Surf Race, Laura Thurtell and Kristie Krenkels were all over the 50-54 swim events and Leah Trebilcock and Emily Gillies went one two in the 30-34 Ironwoman and Single Ski and Emily also grabbed the Board Race gold medal for good measure.

Dori Miller successfully retained her long held title in the 45-49 Surf Race and also took out the Rescue Tube Race. Cyril Baldock and Jan McCloskey carried the can for the club in the 70+ events.

Notable performances for the North Bondi team included Andre Dalton in the 40-44 Ironman and Board, Scott Thompson in numerous individual and teams events in the 50-54, Greg Clifford in the 60-64 years events and Jim Walker won gold in the 45-49 years Ski and Double Ski.

Former Collaroy competitors helped spearhead the North Bondi effort, with Dean Scarff in his first Masters event for his new club taking gold in the 30-34 Beach Sprint and Flags and Ross Langbein doing the same in the 35-39 years.

Stand outs among the masters women included Eloise Starr in the 30-34 years and Jane Cichero in the 55-59 year events.



The Spirit of the Masters.


Thursday 8 March 2018

Over 2000 of the state’s finest surf sport athletes will converge on Blacksmiths Beach from Friday as the final competition of the 2018 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships kicks off.

Competitors from across the state will contest the U15, 17, 19 and Open events and with medals and glory on the line it promises to be a barnstorming competition.

Newport SLSC are gunning for their 5th consecutive title and led by familiar names such as Charlie and Max Brooks, Emily Doyle, Blake Drysdale, Jake Lynch, Georgia Miller, Oliver Signorini, NSW Captain Mitchell Trim and the emerging Morris Twins the Northern Beaches powerhouse are confident that they have the talent to once again sit on top of the standings.

They won’t have it all their own way with fierce rivals Manly boasting their own formidable line-up with Naomi Scott, Jay Furniss, and Kendrick Louis in strong form.

Over the three-competition days 83 clubs will be represented, highlighting the depth of surf sports in the state at present.

In many finals it will virtually be an Aussies-quality race which always brings the best out of the competitors.

Due to its geographical proximity, the Central Coast will be well represented at the event with Avoca, Umina, and Terrigal all fielding strong numbers this season. Rio Olympian Riley Fitzsimmons will be pulling on the cap of Avoca Beach, while Australian representatives Jemma Smith, Rachel Wood (Umina), and Tim Schofield (Terrigal) will all be on the start line.

Hunter athletes will be out to take full advantage of their local knowledge with Redhead competitors Daniel Collins, Isak and Lily Costello, and Nicola Owen keen to capitalise on their strong summer campaigns.

Hosts Swansea Belmont will again field a strong  squad with the likes of Nicholas Stoddart, Angela Leadbeatter, Ashby Allen, Kurt Murphy and Beau McGregor keen to make the most of the Championships on their home break.

Cudgen Headland will boast a strong squad with Anthea Warne, Luke Chaffer, and Olissa Onley all making the trip, while Byron Bay will field Caitlin Callaghan who has enjoyed plenty of success over the last few seasons.

From Illawarra Lucas Ottaway (Bulli) performed strongly in the Age Championships and will be out to make the most of a step up to senior racing, while Mollymook will be out to show their break-out season on the sand in 2017 was no fluke with Sam Zustovich, Brock Scrivener, and Steine Lofts all committed to starting.

A number of competitors from the Far South Coast will make the long journey north with Lachlan Blake (Batemans Bay) keen to turn his Country Champs form into NSW success, while his club mate Geordie Kemp who flew under the radar to win the Beach Flags at Blacksmiths Beach last season as well as securing himself a bronze in the Beach Sprints will be hoping for more of the same when he takes to the track.

The State Championships also marks one of the last chances for the competitors to tune up ahead of next month’s Australian Titles to be held in Western Australia.

With the World Championships also on the horizon later this year there’s also spots on the Australian Life Saving team up for grabs, and strong performances at Lake Macquarie could certainly put the NSW athletes on the selectors’ radar. 

NSW Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon is anticipating a fantastic weekend of competition.

“It’s been an amazing couple of weeks at Swansea Belmont and we’ve been fortunate to have great conditions.

“We’re looking forward to a fitting finale to this year’s Championship and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our Open competitors the very best of luck,” Mr Pidgeon said.


Friday 9 March 2018
On the first day of three days of Open competition at the 2018 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, it was the hometown advantage that saw host club Swansea Belmont make the most of the challenging surf conditions to grab some great results.

Swansea Belmont’s Saxon Coates and Nicholas Stoddart won gold in the U15 Board Rescue, beating the Morris twins from Newport across the line. They then backed up with Ashby Allen to win the Board Relay race, and with the help of Kalen Gocher, also took out the U15 Cameron Relay.

Allen, Coates, and Stoddart along with Daniel Chisholm also picked up a silver in the U15 Surf Teams.

Other local Hunter competitors who relished the conditions were Cooks Hills’ Bella Williams and Freya Konetschnik who took gold in the U15 Board Rescue and were part of the silver medal winning team in the Cameron Relay and the Board Relay. In the U17s, Redhead recorded some solid results including second in the Board Relay.

With only a handful of events running through to finals on day one and no beach track events, the Surf Belt races delivered some of the only points on offer.

Newport’s Emily Doyle claimed gold in the U17 Surf Belt, the open mens team won their race while the U19s and U17s picked up silvers. The U15 Surf Team from Newport also won their event.

Newport SLSC sits on top of the pointscore at the end of day one, with key athletes including Georgia Miller, Mitch Trim, Hannah Minogue and Emily Doyle safely through to Sunday’s finals.

In the final event of the day, the 2km Beach Run, a large contingent of runners took to the sand, with Ali Najem from Wanda making a comeback and winning the Open Male division while Angela Leadbeatter from Swansea Belmont came home strongly to take out the Open Womens after winning this event in the Masters Championships on Wednesday.

The 2018 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club, continues tomorrow and Sunday.

Top 10 Overall Pointscore – Day 1
Newport SLSC                          134
Manly LSC                                   77
Wanda SLSC                              72
Umina SLSC                               62
North Bondi SLSC                      59
Cronulla SLSC                            47
Freshwater SLSC                       45
Swansea Belmont SLSC           43
Terrigal SLSC                             31
Cooks Hill SLSC                        28

Surf Boats 2018 NSW State Championships Photos by Richard Black 


Saturday 10 March 2018
Day Two of the 2018 NSW Open Surf Life Saving Championships saw a mixed bag of results with a big shore dump dictating which events could be run and changes to the timetable were required to suit the challenging conditions.

Surfboat racing in particular was affected with some divisions postponed altogether while others were run with hard cuts to get through the rounds.

Surf Boats - Photos by Richard Black 

The conditions proved an advantage for the experienced water competitors who were able to read the surf, pick the break out and negotiate the shore dump on the way back to shore.

Cudgen Headland’s Scott McCartney displayed practiced board paddling skills to make the most of Luke Chaffer’s great swim leg to get a first in the Open Male Board Rescue, ahead of Redhead and Newport.

Veteran surf competitor Jim Walker also showed his experience and teamed up with son Ben and Jackson Collins to claim bronze in the Open Ski Relay, cementing the North Bondi SLSC’s proud legacy of great surf ski results at state and national level. Ben and Jackson also teamed up with Noah Havard to get gold in the U19 Ski Relay and Jackson and Noah won the U19 Double Ski race.

Newport are well ahead in the pointscore after day two and are looking to secure a fifth straight Open Championship title on the final day of competition. Newport competitors were in the top spot in almost every water event, with golds in the U17 Male Taplin and Ski Relay, U19 Board Relay, U15, U17 and Open Female Surf Team and Open Board Rescue, U19 Rescue Tube Rescue, U19 Female Double Ski and Open Female Board Relay.

Unlike the water, the beach track was much more predictable and events ran smoothly through sprints, relays and beach flag events.

Michael Hanna from Elouera was a surprise performer, taking out the U19 and Open Beach Sprint, ahead of one of the favourites in Newport’s Jake Lynch.

Jake got his own back however when he won gold in the Open Beach Flags ahead of Swansea Belmont’s Liam Hall-Muir and Sam Zustovich from Mollymook.

The North Cronulla girls were on fire on the beach track today with the Rampoldi sisters the standout. Alex and Leah took first and second in the U17 Beach Flags and first and third in the Open Beach Flags.

North Cronulla’s Lucy Flanagan, who missed out on winning the U14 Sprint last week did one better and took out the U15 Beach Sprint. She also took silver in the U15 Beach Flags.

Neighbouring club Cronulla also had some great results, led by Chloe Mannix-Power who did the double, winning the U17 and Open Beach Sprints. She was also part of the U17 gold medal winning Beach Relay team and the Open team which came in third across the line.

Top 10 Overall Pointscore – Day 2
Newport SLSC                   324
Cronulla SLSC                   176
Wanda SLSC                     161
Manly LSC                          143
North Bondi SLSC             105
Umina SLSC                      100
Elouera SLSC                      99
Coogee SLSC                     92
North Cronulla SLSC           87
Redhead SLSC                   71


Sunday 11 March 2018
Boasting a final pointscore more than double that of the nearest club, Newport Surf Life Saving Club has taken out the 2018 NSW Open Surf Life Saving Championships at Blacksmiths Beach.

With the prestigious Ironperson and Taplin Relay races taking centre stage on the final day of the Championships, the Newport team led the charge from the start and were relentless in their attack on the opposition.

Georgia Miller was the favourite going into the Open Female water events and she did not disappoint, taking out the Board, Ski, Surf and Ironwoman events. Miller established a solid lead in the swim leg of the Ironwoman and built on it from there to convincingly take the race ahead of Lizzie Welborn from Nth Bondi and Jemma Smith from Umina.

This makes it five Ironwoman titles in a row for the talented surf athlete who was all smiles as her team mates congratulated her with open arms.

The Newport girls B team were thrilled to take the gold in the Female Taplin Relay, the pinnacle team event of the championships, with Madison Spencer, Grace Gurr and Emily Doyle coming across the line ahead of the A team of Georgia Miller, Hannah Minogue and Lara Moses. The reigning title holders from Umina (Jazmyn Rodwell, Rachel Wood and Jemma Smith) had to settle for third spot this time around.

But Newport remained unable to take the Open Mens Taplin title despite trying to wrestle it away from Manly for the last few years. With the battle being fought by Wanda, Newport and Manly in the early stages of the race, Stewart McLachlan, Jay Furniss, Kendrick Louis, Sam Speer, Nick Dawe and Harrison Stone were stronger in the end, with Newport in second and Redhead slipping into third spot.

Redhead’s Daniel Collins also made his mark today by beating Kendrick Louis in the Open Ironman, the first time a Hunter Branch athlete has won the prestigious title since Josh Blair from Swansea Belmont SLSC got gold in 2000.

Manly’s best individual results came in the Open Male Board with gold and silver to Stewart McLachlan and Harrison Stone, Sam Speer got gold in the Open Ski, Naomi Scott silver in the U19 Female Ironwoman, Ryan Singleton gold in the U17 Surf Race and Harrison Crowley silver in the U17 Ironman.

Today’s winners of the Under 19 Surf and Board races were presented with perpetual trophies honouring two young surf competitors who sadly passed away. The Saxon Bird Memorial Trophy was won for the second year by James De Vries from Shelly Beach SLSC. The Jacob Lollback Trophy was presented to Chris King from Elouera who came first in the U19 Board Race.

Finals day also saw champions decided in the Surf Boats, and the Bulli Gelcon crew cementing their legend status by taking their fifth Open Mens title in a row. In the Open Women, the Elouera Wilco crew just snuck across the line to take the Open Womens event.

With the Championships hailed a great success and returning in 2019 to Swansea Belmont, the club’s work party and army of volunteer officials who make the event happen are looking forward to a well earned break.

The NSW Surf Life Saving Championships are proudly supported by Your local club and the Lake Macquarie City Council.

Overall Pointscore
Newport SLSC                  553
Manly LSC                         247
Wanda SLSC                    221
North Bondi SLSC            204
North Cronulla SLSC        198
Cronulla SLSC                  196
Redhead SLSC                144
Umina SLSC                     144
Elouera SLSC                   134
Coogee SLSC                  118
Avoca Beach SLSC         100
Swansea Belmont SLSC   83
Mollymook SLSC                77
Freshwater SLSC               70
Terrigal SLSC                      63
Cooks Hill SLSC                 53
Bondi Surf Bathers LSC     50
Cudgen Headland SLSC    48
Queenscliff SLSC                31
Bulli SLSC                            31
Shelly Beach SLSC             28
Collaroy SLSC                     25
Ocean Beach SLSC            25