March 17 - 23, 2019: Issue 397


2019 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships: Opens - Newport Wins!!


Saturday March 9th, 2019
By Surf Life Saving New South Wales

After two days of competition, Newport SLSC the current title holder, are on track for their 6th Open win at the 2019 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships at Swansea Belmont SLSC this weekend.

Blake Drysdale reclaimed his Open Male Beach Flag title and together with wife Laura Shorter, Bethany Pate and Jake Lynch, also won the Open Mixed Relay for Newport.

Blake Drysdale - photo by Stephen Chu/SLS NSW

But it was in the water that the competitors were on fire. The Morris brothers Mitch and Jake backed up in fine form after last weekend to take out the U15 Board Relay with Joel Piper.

The U15 boys also won the Cameron Relay and Joel Piper and Brandon Bartlem won the Board Rescue.

In the Opens it was a Newport whitewash with Mitch Trim and Luke Jones winning the Double Ski and teammates Jayke Rees and Greg Tobin behind them by inches, making for some great friendly rivalry on the race to the finish. Morrison, Rees and Trim also won the Ski Relay and the club won the U15 and Open Male Surf Teams and the U17 Male Ski Relay. Hannah Minogue and Mitch Trim nailed the Mixed Double Ski.

And it wasn’t just the boys who brought it home, with Emily Doyle and Madison Louw winning the U19 and U17 Female Surf Belt Race. The U17 and U19 Female Taplin title also fell to the Northern Beaches powerhouse and the club took out first and third places in the Lifesaver Relay.

The 2019 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club conclude on Sunday with the Open Ironperson, Taplin and Board race events, surf boat finals and all the ceremony of the March Past parade to kick off the finale to the state’s largest surf sport event.

Day 2 Top 20 Pointscore
Newport SLSC 363
Wanda SLSC 284
Elouera SLSC 215
Manly LSC 160
North Bondi SLSC 150
Cronulla SLSC 146
North Cronulla SLSC 125
Umina SLSC 119
Coogee SLSC 107
Swansea Belmont SLSC 67
Freshwater SLSC 59
Mollymook Surf Life Saving Club 50
Collaroy SLSC 33
Terrigal SLSC 32
Cooks Hill SLSC 30
Cudgen Headland SLSC 29
Shelly Beach SLSC 28
Redhead SLSC 27
Bondi Surf Bathers LSC 25
North Steyne SLSC 21


Surf clubs are about so much more than superstars and this sixth State Championship win by Newport SLSC is a great example.

Newport SLSC entered the 2019 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships knowing that defending its title would potentially be a solid challenge.

The Sydney Northern Beaches club prides itself on the athlete development and competitive success. This year however, some of their key competitors were out, but their strength and breadth across the entire program was irrefutable.

It all kicked off over the Lifesaving Championships weekend. The club fielded strong teams in the Champion Lifesaver and the Patrol Competition where they secured top three places in six of the 13 events.

Led by water competitor Phoebe Savage, club chief instructor Guyren Smith, and year on year age group first aid superstars Lily Tancred and Linda Leck, Newport’s Nick Carroll commented, “this team has come along in huge leaps over the last season. They collected a heap of points at Swansea Belmont, giving the open surf and beach squads a real lift coming into the carnival.”

The following weekend they continued to display their competence in the core lifesaving arena taking out gold and silver in the Under 19 First Aid Competition as well as third in the Under 15 and Open divisions.

These results proved valuable as the overall pointscore begun to accumulate the following weekend. It showcased the breadth of the Newport team across all areas of competition.

Newport caps were heavily represented in each division from Under 15s through to Opens as you looked out across Swansea Belmont’s Blacksmiths Beach. The team was ignited by the energetic efforts of the young water squad. “The boys won and filled the placings in every race in their division,” said Carroll. “Kimberley Doyle’s emphatic Under 15 Ironwoman win on finals day gave everyone something to cheer about.

“The team was also led from the top,” continued Carroll. “It’s no coincidence that this sixth title win coincided with NSW team captain and ski champ Mitchell Trim’s sixth straight open ski title.”

With a grin to match his wins, Mitchell Trim was racing in memory of fellow competitor and friend Alana de Kort of Collaroy SLSC, who tragically lost her battle with cancer in 2018.

Trim said wearing a pineapple tattoo on his arm was a fitting tribute for a beautiful girl and former competitor. “The Pineapple symbolised Alana; she always stood tall and was very sweet on the inside. She competed at the State Champs all the way through Nippers.”

Mitchell Trim with his pineapple in memory of Alana de Kort

Trim carried Alana with him through his wins in Open Single Ski, Ski Relay, Double Ski, Lifesaver Relay and Mixed Double Ski on Sunday.

“These conditions are like a kayaking regatta it's a bit like being back at Umina Beach. You've got to be on the whole way, but it's pretty fun out there. 

“I've won the ski race two or three times but never at Swansea Belmont, usually the waves chew me up a little here, so this has been great.”

The NSW Interstate captain also showed that he was a little worried about maintaining his place in the Opens team with the success of the up and coming young guns.

“We've got a really good crew at Newport. The young kids coming up are very, very impressive. We train hard but have a good old time and the club is in a really good place at the moment so I’m just trying to keep my spot before I get pushed out by the developing talent.”

Open Ironman hopeful Max Brooks, despite being ruled out of competition with bruising to his hip, joined the team on the beach encouraging his mates as they continued to cross the finishing line. The highpoint coming as his training partner Jackson Borg took out the Open Ironman.

Jackson raced all the way through the Ocean 6 series from the qualifiers with mixed results. “He has spent much of the season working on fine-tuning skills along with the almost impossible elite iron fitness training program,“said Carroll.  “He took a brilliant second place to Ali Day in the World Ironman Championships in Adelaide that gave him confidence that the hard work would pay off.”

And it did. At Swansea Belmont Jackson held his own when pinned in a tight cat-and-mouse with Manly’s Kendrick Louis and Jay Furniss. When the three hit the beach he pounced for the run to take out his first Ironman State Title.

“I'm stunned, I'm so stoked with this win, I couldn't ask for anything more,” said Borg after his win. “It was very tactical out there in the flat conditions. No one wanted to get a wave to take the lead, but I got the guys on the beach. I've got to thank my Newport mates and squad for pushing me and getting me here.”

The foundation of the glory for Emily Doyle and Zac Morris also included going beyond the training call of duty. “Zac battled a stomach bug that kept him and a number of team-mates up most of the night before finals day. He worked to put it aside and rise to the occasion winning the Under 17 Single Ski and Ironman and tie for the win in the Board with Nick Stoddart of Swansea Belmont,” said Carroll.

Everywhere you looked, Emily was crossing the finishing line in both the Under 19s and Open events. After a solid season in Ocean 6, she finished her State Championships with silver medals in the premier Open Ironwoman and Taplin Relay. These were just two of her 13 medals from 20 events.

The Newport beach team was not short of success with a super Saturday of finals accruing vital points. Despite carrying a shoulder injury Jake Lych competed in the Beach Sprint but swapped the Flags for a stint as beach commentator. Lynch and fellow Australian Champion beach competitor Laura Shorter secured silver in the Open Beach Sprint, while William de Vries got a fourth in the Under 19s. 

Veteran State Champ Blake Drysdale continued his sucess reclaiming his Open Male Beach Flag title and sixth in total. Together with wife Laura Shorter, Bethany Pate and Jake Lynch, also won the Open Mixed Relay their club.

"The team as a whole went so well and we're showing we're still one of the top beach teams in the State," said Drysdale. "I was glad to regain my title in the Flags to be part of our winning relay team with my wife. We went really well in both the men's and women's Opens Beach Relays with bronze medals in both.

"I've been racing at State Championships for years. I started as a Nipper and I just love it. It's all about competing with your mates and representing your club and staying fit which keeps you feeling young. I've been apart of it all for so long and I'm not getting tired of it."

The Under 23 female Surfboat crew (Abby Ballesty, Meagan Barr, Tara Doyle, Claudia Harris and sweep Michael King) nabbed a bronze medal in front of a huge crowd after battling the same tough flat conditions as the ski, swim and board competitors.

The overall team elation was capped with a first and third in the Lifesaver Relay. The beach sprinters, surfboat rowers and water competitors all came together to compete in the five-discipline event.

“This might not have been the biggest win in the six-title streak at the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships,” Carroll concluded, “but in some ways, for the club it was the best of the lot.”


Monday March 11th, 2019
By Surf Life Saving New South Wales

The 2019 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club, wrapped up on Sunday after a solid three days of competition in the Opens at Swansea Belmont SLSC.


The elite level of the sport was on display in a big way as the premier events were run under blue skies, high temperatures and small surf conditions.

The Newport steam train ran straight through finals day to consolidate the club’s overall lead, an unassailable victory of more than 160 points ahead of Wanda SLSC and Elouera on equal points with Manly LSC for third place.

Almost on cue, the Morris boys were across the line first in the key events, including Zach’s clean sweep in the U17 Iron, Ski, Board and Surf races. Mitch did the same in the U15s, with the Iron, Board and Surf races and Jake got a silver in the U15 Ironman along with a swag of medals in the teams events.

Mitch Trim took out the Open Ski race, Kimberley Doyle won the U15 Ironwoman and Jackson Borg is the new NSW Open Ironman Champion after a ding dong battle in the flat conditions.

“I was pretty shocked that I won in a cat and mouse with Kendrick Louis and Jay Furniss. It was very tactical, no one wanted to get a wave to take the lead but I got them on the way up the beach. I'm stunned, I'm so stoked with this win, I couldn't ask for anything more,” said Borg.

The host club’s 9th place overall was well deserved with some awesome performances over the weekend from Swansea Belmont competitors. Nick Stoddart’s dead heat with Zach Morris from Newport in the U17 Board Race was heart-stopping and even the judges couldn’t call it. Nick was first in the Board Relay, the Board Rescue and was part of the U17 Taplin team winners.

Swansea’s Ethan Coates took out the U19 Surf Race and with it, the Saxon Bird memorial trophy in memory of the late surf lifesaver. Ethan was also in the winning Board Relay team.

Neighbouring club Redhead were solid in most of the events, but finals Sunday was Nicola Owen’s time to shine. First across the line time after time, the Redhead teen was virtually unbeatable, winning the U19 and Open Board races and the U19 Ironwoman, all in the space of about an hour and a half.

Despite not being in peak condition, Daniel Collins still put in an impressive performance to get second in the Open Surf Race. It was a family affair for the Collins locals, with sister Jess in the commentary box for the broadcast livestream of the event, sharing her knowledge and experience of racing at an elite level with viewers at home.

Daniel was surprised with his results this weekend. “It's been a great weekend with all the boys in the club and it's been awesome having my family here and having Jess back involved with the commentary this weekend,” said Collins.

“I think I'll have to go back and look at what she's had to say about me on the livestream. I'm sure she had a crack at my fitness and how I was performing out there but she's had a great time up in the commentary box. She has represented Australia and she knows a lot about our sport, she knows what she's talking about. She's done a great job.”

After taking out the overall Junior Championship title last weekend, Cooks Hill had another reason to celebrate with Bella Williams pushing out all comers with a stunning run up the beach to claim the U17 Ironwoman title.

The best performing Central Coast club was Umina in 6th spot, in no small way due to the efforts of Jemma Smith. Wins included the Open Female Champion Lifesaver and the prestigious Open Ironwoman title, Open Ski and she and the team took out the Open Taplin.

She was backed up by the club’s new recruit, Bailey Johns who made the move from Avoca Beach during the year and finished up winning the U19 Board Race and was second in the U19 Ironman.

In the surf boat finals it came down to the wire in many races due to the lack of waves and the Open Men’s Bulli crew emerged victorious for the sixth time in a row.

“This feels so good, it's brilliant. We've been here a couple of times before and it just keeps getting better,” said sweep Shane Geloven. “It was such a long flat race, they had to row hard the whole way. We jagged a nice runner that got us right through to the line.”

Peter Spence’s Palm Beach Patriots won the Open Women’s race by hooking onto a small surge to take them across the line. His Reserve Mens crew also won gold in another super tight race.

“We've been after this title for years. We had a great start and the boys they did everything asked of them in that race. We're looking forward to Aussies. We won the boat relay yesterday and another five crews got into the finals so we're all pumped up,” said Spence.

Palm Beach Patriots - photo by Stephen Chu/SLS NSW

The all-female Sth Maroubra Reserve Womens crew swept by Bec Hamilton were ecstatic with their win.

“The girls did everything right and deserve all the credit. It is so special, but what makes it special is doing it with your mates and they've got to back me and I've got to back them,” said Hamilton in her first season at Sth Maroubra after moving from Coogee. “It was a really tough race but the girls were awesome and what a great day it was to be here at the State Champs.”

The Championships return to Swansea Belmont in 2020 for a fourth year and club president Graham Burge says the team are all happy to host the event again, despite the hard work.

“It’s probably one of the best events we’ve ever run. The conditions were just right and the beach was left immaculate, which is great.

“Our Work Force worked so hard, these guys are just trojans. We thrive on this sort of stuff and people come out of the woodwork to make it happen,” said Burge.

Top 10 Overall Pointscore
Newport SLSC 525
Wanda SLSC 359
Elouera SLSC 245
Manly LSC 245
North Bondi SLSC 240
North Cronulla SLSC 171
Umina SLSC 168
Cronulla SLSC 146
Coogee SLSC 112
Swansea Belmont SLSC 100
Freshwater SLSC 62 

Bilgola SLSC were represented by 3 crews. On Friday, The Bilgola “Old " 200 Masters crew flew the flag for the club, claiming a silver medal to fierce rivals North Cronulla. This is an auspicious achievement as they have achieved 15 consecutive years of podium finishes at State titles. 

On Saturday the Reserve Male "Bends" crew and the U23 Female "Rippers” progressed nicely through the round robin stages. Unfortunately Blacksmiths Beach resembled more of a lake than a beach in the afternoon with the "Bends" crew being eliminated in a very tight finish. Finals day on Sunday saw the Rippers row superbly to reach the final. In a hotly contested race the girls went from 2nd to 4th in the last 20m to narrowly miss the podium. Hold your heads high girls, it was a tremendous effort in tough conditions and a great weekend away for the team.

BOARD RELAY: Jake Morris, Mitch Morris and Joel Piper - Newport SLSC

Great results for SNB Boaties. Result missing is Boat Relay and that was SNB 1st, 2nd & 3rd with:

Palm Beach 1st
Mona Vale 2nd
Sth Curl Curl 3rd

SLS SNB boaties won 6 of the 9 Golds and plenty of minor medals & finalists:

CAMERON RELAY: Bailey Clues, Ryan Thomas and Jake Morris and Kyan Winn - Newport SLSC

Collaroy SLSC: March Past Ladies Team

Jackson Borg, Newport SLSC

Queenscliff U19 women's crew

OPEN MALE DOUBLE SKI: Luke Jones and Mitchell Trim - Newport SLSC

South Curl Curl U23men


Palm Beach SLSC Mens 19s

Zach Morris - Newport SLSC

Photos by Surf Life Saving NSW and Stephen Chu/SLS NSW