March 24-30, 2024: Issue 619


2024 NSW Surf Life Saving Surfboat Championships

Palm Beach SLSC Boat Division Captain Peter Spence with U19 Puddles crew of Chloe Driver, Chloe Brunker, Zoe Elliot and Madeleine Julliard Photo: Malcolm Trees 

Exciting racing and some challenging conditions gave surfboat crews from across the state the chance to showcase their hard work and amazing skills over three days at the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly presented by Your local club and hosted by Queenscliff and North Steyne SLSCs.

Competitor numbers increased this year, with almost 250 crews entered across all age divisions, including Masters.

The major uplift in crews taking to the waves at Sydney’s Manly Beach were seen in the Under 19 male and female divisions; great news for the future of this demanding but exhilarating sport.

“It was a great three days of racing, with a testing surf for all crews to manage. The standard of competition continues to increase with extremely close finishes in most divisions,” said referee Greg Heard.

“It was also great to see a number of crews from clubs that had been absent for a few years, make a return and be competitive. Sunday, finals day had some of the best racing and provided a great spectacle for everyone on the beach.”

After a few upsets in the quarter and semi-finals saw some of the race favourites knocked out early, there were some nail-biting finishes when it came down to the final eight races on Sunday.

The first gold medal fell to Queenscliff’s Reserve Male crew (Damien Daley, Louis Alston, Nicholas Hampton, William Thackray and Douglas Bone), followed by the Batemans Bay Banshees in the Reserve Female final and pretty much all of Manly heard them whelp with joy and relief on the shore.

Batemans Bay was certainly flying the flag for the far south coast clubs, with all four crews through to the finals.

The Banshees, swept by Neil Innes and including wife Tracey Innes, Donna Marie Clarke, Megan Douros and Alison Weyman were on a high after also picking up gold in the Masters racing on Friday.

“It’s been a long time coming, well a long time for me,” said Tracey, a veteran of the sport after 26 years.

“It’s great to show that a bit of age doesn’t weary them,” added Neil.

South Curl Curl SLSC showed their dominance in the younger divisions, with wins in the U19 and U23 Male races, both swept by an ecstatic Rob Lowery. The Dribblers crew of Sam Merry, Zane Mcgregor, Cody Kearney and Levi Welsh crossed the line in one of the closest finishes of the day, while the all-local Curly boys, the Underdogs crew of Zac Lowery, Tremayne Chivers, Tasman Farrell and Harrison Andrew were celebrating their time in the sun as U23 champions.

The Palmy Army featured heavily in the finals action as usual, winning two of the eight golds on offer. Stephen Cox swept the U23 Palm Beach Peastmode crew of Emily Wise, Kenya Fahey and Annika Beesley (with Jess Wise filling in for injured stroke Aysha Whyte) to victory, while Peter Spence’s U19 Puddles crew of Chloe Driver, Chloe Brunker, Zoe Elliot and Madeleine Julliard made it look like they have been rowing for years.

“The girls haven’t lost a carnival all season,” said Peter Spence. “The girls have been brilliant, they’re an exceptional crew.”

In an incredibly tight finish, Bulli Gold won the coveted Open Female division, swept by Paul Jones and featuring Georgia Leach, Brooke Dent, Sarah Hill, and Stephanie Roberts. The win was a bit overwhelming for the rowers, with lots happening over the last year, a State gold medal was a big surprise.

“They train hard, make lots of sacrifices…they’ve got seven kids between them. I’m so proud of them,” said the sweep. “We’re a strong boat club, but a family club, which is what makes this possible,” said one of the crew.

Damien Daley’s NSW titles tilt ended on the ultimate high with his Queenscliff A Rollers Open Male crew of Connor Hopkins, Chris Cunningham-Reid, James Molloy and Zac Von Appen taking out the last race of the championships.

It was DD’s second gold of the day and a fitting end to the entire 2024 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, winning for the host club Queenscliff in its 100th anniversary year.

“We did this for a lot of people in our club,” said DD. “We’ve had to juggle a lot of things this year, and on our home beach, it’s unreal.”

Damien Daley - pretty happy about that. Photo: Malcolm Trees

The referee thanked all the volunteers involved in making the event such a success.

“Thanks again to all of the officials who worked tirelessly each day to ensure the event ran smoothly for the competitors,” said Greg Heard.

South Curl Curl SLSC - airborne. Photo: Malcolm Trees

Palm Beach SLSC grinning winners. Photo: Malcolm Trees 

In the Open Male, Queenscliff would come up trumps again with sweep, Damien Daley alongside Connor Hopkins, Christopher Cunningham-Reid, James Molloy, and Zac Von Appen. In the 100th year of the club, the emotions were high as they crossed the line before being awarded gold in the final event of the Championships.

More on the 2024 SLS NSW State Surfboats Titles in a report by Surf Life Saving New South Wales runs HERE


1 Palm Beach (Nsw) 40

2. North Cronulla 26

3 South Curl Curl 25

4 Batemans Bay 23

5 Queenscliff 21

6 Bulli 20

7 Avoca Beach 19

8 Wanda 18

9 South Maroubra 16

10 Woolgoolga  13

11 Elouera 10

11 Kempsey Crescent Head 10 - -

12 Collaroy 9-

12 Freshwater 9

13 North Narrabeen 8

13 Port Kembla 8

14 Coogee 7

15 Manly 6

15 Nobbys 6

15 Coffs Harbour 6

2024 NSW Surf Boat State Championships Results 



  1. Queenscliff A Rollers
  2. Wanda Weapons
  3. Port Kembla Pork Knuckles


  1. Bulli Gold
  2. Nth Cronulla Funkys
  3. Port Kembla Ogs


  1. Queenscliff Major A’s
  2. Batemans Bay Team A
  3. Bulli Gold


  1. Batemans Bay Banshees
  2. South Curl Curl
  3. Palm Beach Pterodactyls


  1. South Curl Curl Underdogs
  2. Palm Beach Phins
  3. Palm Beach Penitokos


  1. Palm Beach Peastmode
  2. Avoca Beach Zephyrs
  3. Collaroy Crusaders


  1. Sth Curl Curl Dribblers
  2. Port Macquarie Orcas
  3. Palm Bech Popes


  1. Palm Beach Puddles
  2. Avoca Beach Yetis
  3. Coffs Harbour Fruitloops


  1. Avoca Beach Team A
  2. Collaroy Red
  3. Coogee Boat Crews



  1. Elouera Great Men
  2. Sth Maroubra Weapon Vets
  3. Queenscliff Forty and Firing


  1. Manly Moonlighters
  2. Woolgoolga No Points


  1. Avoca Beach Blue Pills
  2. South West Rocks Show Bags
  3. Wanda Thumpers


  1. Batemans Bay Banshees
  2. Queenscliff Reality Queens
  3. Coogee Spices


  1. Kempsey Crescent Head The OCs
  2. Sth Maroubra Scoobydoos
  3. Woolgooga Mud Crabs


  1. Wanda Kessels
  2. Nth Narrabeen Dreadnaughts


  1. South Maroubra Snagglepuss
  2. Bulli Team A
  3. Nth Cronulla Vets


  1. Freshwater Spring Chickens
  2. Sth Curl Curl White Bread
  3. Kempsey Crescent Head The ROCs


  1. Nobbys Dicko 260s
  2. Bulli Gold
  3. Woolgoolga Long Strokers

Report by Surf Life Saving New South Wales, photos by Malcom Trees

Mona Vale SLSC goes skyward. Photo: MVSLSC