NSW are Surf Lifesaving Interstate Champions for fifth consecutive year: 11 athletes from Newport SLSC including Team Captain Jemma Smith in 2024 Team
The future of NSW surf sports is bright with our best up-and-coming athletes and the state’s most established competitors taking out the Interstate Ocean Championships for the fifth straight year.
The 2024 NSW Surf Interstate Team comprised 11 athletes from Newport SLSC, including Team Captain, Jemma Smith.
Led by a dominant and at times incredibly comfortable showing on the beach, where NSW athletes picked up the vast majority of wins on offer in the Beach Flags, Sprints and Relays, the Blues came out on top in the Pathways, Youth, Open and Overall point scores – a clean sweep of the day.
A total of 30 gold, 20 silver and 13 bronze medals earned across the day by NSW competitors at Maroubra Beach on Thursday January 11 2024, which put on a veritable four seasons in one day with overcast and muggy conditions in the morning giving way to rain and then later clearing up for a hot and sunny afternoon.
The weather may well have been taken as a metaphor for NSW’s day, too, where a slow start in the Surf races that opened the day did little to hamper the team’s chances of victory.
“Things didn’t go our way for the first four or five events, but there was no panic, we just said we’d keep chipping away,” Team Manager, Greg Pierce said.
“The Beach Sprinters came good for us, we were very good in the Ski, the Iron and the Board, and our Open competitors were very, very good for us.
“The team came together well and we’re proud.”
Among the best results on the day were wins in all bar two of the Beach Flags events, culminating in a comprehensive Opens category clean sweep by Alex Rampoldi and Sam Zustovich, and Flags/Sprint doubles for U14 Pathways athlete Marli Mayne and U15, Chris Kondilios – both locals of the host clubs neighbours, South Maroubra SLSC.
After a year off from Surf Life Saving, it was an excellent result from Marli who will continue to go from strength to strength ahead of State Championships in March.
In the water, a wild finish to the Pathways Male Iron race saw Maddix Burke from Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC catch two Queensland competitors in the shore break and get the better of his dismount to close out a win, while Noah Steiner of Wanda SLSC and Annalise Kibble of Newport SLSC picked up Open Iron wins.
Team Captain, Jemma Smith, just days after her 25th birthday, overcame a slow start to storm home in the Open Ski Race, while Swansea Belmont SLSC’s Kaitlin Rees completed a NSW one-two with Newport’s Pipi Te Pania in the Youth Female Board race.
“It was pretty much the perfect race for me,” Kaitlin said.
“I was able to get out clean which meant I had my own water and just raced my way.
“I’m so grateful to the community at Swansea Belmont, I wouldn’t be here without them, and it’s a great group here today as well, it’s been good to learn from the older athletes with all their experience.”
SLSNSW President, Peter Agnew ESM said he was proud of the team’s performance.
“On behalf of SLSNSW I would like to extend my congratulations to the NSW Interstate team on successfully defending their title for a fifth time at Maroubra this year,” he said.
“Our Pathways, Youth and Open athletes wore the sky-blue cap with pride and competed with maturity, and it all translated to success in the ocean and on the sand.”
SLSNSW Director and Chair of Surf Sports, Don van Keimpema echoed Peter’s comments.
“It’s another great result for NSW and I’d like to thank the Team Management as well as the athletes and officials for their hard work, dedication and commitment,” he said.
SLSA's 2024 Interstates Report:
Led this year by former Australian and New South Wales Ironman champion, Nathan Smith, the Blues were dominant across the water and beach events, at all age levels.
“I’ve really enjoyed myself as Coach, it’s been a wonderful experience so far to get to know everybody from your beachies to your wateries and seeing everyone bond has been really special.
“I’ve got a great band of coaches and management staff around me, and the selectors have done a wonderful job in selecting a team that can cover all facets of the competition arenas.
“All coaching styles are different, but we’ve tried to stay low this year. The kids know what they’ve got to do and they work so hard to be in this position to wear the NSW cap and wear it with pride.
“We just try to give them advice before the race, after the race and pick them up in between and hopefully we’ve done a pretty good job. It’s nice to have a small part in their success.
“I look at their skills, their fitness and their strength as well their agility, their reaction times in the beach flags… it’s really good,” he said.
New South Wales rising star Noah Steiner won three gold medals, including a dominant win in the open Ironman final where he executed his race plan to perfection earning himself a full transition lead heading into the final board leg.
“I was just trying to focus on each stroke, each step and be in the present moment which I think really helped in the way that the race unfolded.
“I just tried to focus on the start and keep executing my processes and ended up with a bit of a lead going into the board leg which was nice,” he said.
As the defending Australian Interstates Champions, Steiner admitted there was a lot on the line for him and his teammates.
“We take so much pride in wearing the blue [NSW] cap and you’re not just racing for yourself, you’re racing for your teammates and that elevates you and really builds great sportsmanship and camaraderie.
“It’s like an Aussie final every race here. It’s really good also to see Tassie, Victoria and all the other smaller States come to compete, you really get a taste of that top level of racing. It’s awesome,” he added.
Newport’s Analise Kibble was relishing being part of her first New South Wales State team, as the 19-year-old also prepares to back up in this weekend’s Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series.
“This is my first time being in the New South Wales team and I really wanted to take advantage of that opportunity and to enjoy the team culture with the rest of NSW,” she said.
Despite two big days ahead of her for rounds three and four of the Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series, Kibble said she thinks today’s racing will help her ahead of the weekend.
“We traditionally have a really strict taper leading into the Series but honestly when it comes to a few days before racing we’re usually doing a couple of races to get the heart rate up to get used to when the gun goes on Saturday and Sunday so you’re not really shocked by the first race.
“It’s great to come down to get a feel for the beach and the water. I love racing at Maroubra, it always has a nice little wave on, a shore dump that is similar to Newport…so we love it when we’re down here.
“I’m really excited to race this weekend. I’m really there to throw my hat in the ring and give it a crack. Doesn’t really matter, win, lose or draw just give it a go and see what happens. It’s nice to have a lot of girls from my age group doing the Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series for the first time and going through that together,” she said.
In the youth girls events, Pipi Te Pania delivered impressive results for the Blues, taking gold in the Ironwoman, silver in the board, bronze in the surf race and another two gold medals in the Mixed Board Relay and Surf Teams.
With many close races amongst the youth competitors, Te Pania was pleased with the work she had put in with her club around finishes.
“We’ve been working a lot on changes in speed in Newport and just working around the can and then on the last can just head for home and go as hard as you can till you finish.”
“It’s such an amazing group down at Newport and I’m so grateful to have so many amazing people to train alongside, it’s really helping me in all the races,” she said.
Fellow Newport alumni, Noah Maggs (Youth) and his sister Sadie (Pathways) both captured individual board gold medals for the Blues with beachies Kaitlyn Williams (North Cronulla) and Kobe Sorensen (Wanda) collecting three (Pathways Sprint, Flags and Relay) and two (Youth Flags and Relay) gold medals respectively from as many events.
Overall point score: 1. New South Wales (254); 2. Queensland (202); 3. Victoria (172); 4. Western Australia (158); 5. South Australia (132); 6. Tasmania (81)
Open point score: 1. New South Wales (88); 2. Victoria (69); 3. Queensland (67); 4. South Australia (50); 5. Western Australia (50); 6. Tasmania (30)
Youth point score: 1. New South Wales (91); 2. Queensland (71); 3. Victoria (60); 4. Western Australia (57); 5. South Australia (40); 6. Tasmania (34)
Pathways point score: 1. New South Wales (75); 2. Queensland (64); 3. Western Australia (51); 4. Victoria (43); 5. South Australia (39); 6. Tasmania (17).
Results available at: https://sls.com.au/interstates/
2024 NSW Surf Interstate Team
- Jemma Smith Newport
- Analise Kibble Newport
- Britney Pierce Wanda
- Georgia Singleton Manly
- Alex Rampoldi North Cronulla
- Charlie Verco Newport
- Bailey Clues Newport
- Nathan Jay Cronulla
- Noah Steiner Wanda
- Sam Zustovich Mollymook
- Noah Maggs Newport
- Olivia Clues Newport
- Pipi Te Pania Newport
- Alex Walker Cooks Hill
- Dylan Porteous Wanda
- Kaitlin Rees Swansea Belmont
- Luke Higgs North Curl Curl
- Phoebe Doran Swansea Belmont
- Kobe Sorensen North Cronulla
- Emerson Leadbetter Swansea Belmont
- Jack Stewart North Curl Curl
- Charli Barbour Newport
- Maddix Burke Warilla Barrack Point
- Charlotte Bowmer Wanda
- Phoenix Preston Cudgen Headland
- Lily Egan Cooks Hill
- Chris Kondilios South Maroubra
- Kaitlyn Williams North Cronulla
- Henry Whitehead Manly
- Jacob Chalmers Manly
- Lisa Derz Newport
- Sophie Clues Newport
- Sadie Maggs Newport
- Will Munro Cooks Hill
- Riley Gough The Lakes
- Marli Mayne South Maroubra