Surf Life Saving NSW State Age Championships 2023
The future of surf sports in NSW shone bright despite the weather as Nippers hit the beach for the first time for Age Championships at the 2023 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships on Thursday morning, February 23rd. Athletes from all over the state met in the New South Wale’s largest community sporting event kicked off at Queenscliff and Manly Beach.
Local clubs taking part in the Age Championships include North Curl Curl, who lead out the point score for competitors within the SLS Sydney Northern Beaches branch, Manly, who are second highest point scorers among resident surf clubs at present, North Steyne, Freshwater, Queenscliff, Newport, Avalon Beach, Dee Why, Warriewood, Mona Vale, Collaroy, North Narrabeen, Bilgola Beach and Long Reef.
On Thursday U9s and U10s navigated challenging swell with seasoned grace, while a number of athletes made a name for themselves – or built upon an already glowing reputation – on the sand.
Millie Gaudry, Manly, won Bronze in the U10 Female Surf Race, with Alice Woolnough, Manly and Josephine Jones, North Curl Curl, also making it through the heats to the Final. In the U10 Male Surf Race Dash Armstrong, Collaroy, also made it through the heats to the Final.
In the U11 Male Surf Race Hamza Haggag, Dee Why, also made it through the heats to the Final, as did Darcy Jacobs, Freshwater, Jay Byrne, North Curl Curl and Sasha Gordon, Manly.
Maggie Meagher, Freshwater, made the Final in the U9 Female Surf Race, as did Evelyn Vale, Newport, Grace Elizabeth Wright, Dee Why and Zoe Burton, North Curl Curl. Considering the amount of athletes competing, 92, this is an outstanding result.
Also on the sand or taking part in the heats were Maya Gaffney, Manly, Mia Jessop, Freshwater, Aria Amos, Freshwater, Eloise Rydon, Queenscliff, Bonnie Crosbie, Freshwater, Matilda Taggart, Collaroy, Olivia Wootton, Mona Vale, Sia Murray, Avalon Beach, Heidi Dunn, Freshwater, Tahlia Raynes-Greenow, Dee Why, Hanna Grant and Molly Martin, North Curl Curl and Eva Rae Ellison, North Narrabeen - making sure there was a great representation of club caps from resident surf clubs on the beach, along with some wonderful local smiles for visitors.
Joseva Ranatawake, Manly, Samuel Travis, North Curl Curl, Nicholas Hill, Freshwater and Ryder Suhr, Dee Why all made it through the heats in the U9 Male Surf Race, another comp with huge numbers competing - 102 athletes taking part.
The U9 Female Board Race Final saw Grace Elizabeth Wright, Dee Why, crossing the line in 4th, earning points for her club, with Maya Gaffney, Manly, also making the Final.
Bridie Hurley, Queenscliff and Heidi Dunn, Freshwater made it through the heats to the semi-final race, while Lola Wayne, Dee Why, was strong in the quarter finals for the U9 Female Board Race, as were Bridie Hurley, Queenscliff and Bonnie Crosbie, Freshwater.
The U9 Male Board Race saw 122 athletes step up to the start line, with Hugo Collins, North Steyne, Ziggy Klein, Queenscliff, Joseva Ranatawake, Manly, Alastair Pearce, North Narrabeen and Zachariah Kane, Dee Why win through to the Final. Hugo won both his Heat 1 and 2 while Alastair placed 4th in his first Heat and won Heat 2. Archie Regan, Freshwater and William Dawes, North Curl Curl, were also 'amongst it', with Will Chalmers, Manly, Zachariah Kane, Dee Why, Felix Greig, Manly and Koa Flood, Newport, also going for it in the U9 Male Board Race Heats.
In the U10 Female Board Race, 132 athletes, Final Flori Pennie, North Steyne gained 4th and Nevaeh Cleary, North Curl Curl a 6th, both gaining points for their clubs. Grace Inge Wright, Queenscliff, also won through to the Final, as did Millie Gaudry, Manly.
Also competing in the U10 Female Board Race Semi-finals were Grace Inge Wright, Queenscliff, Nevaeh Cleary, North Curl Curl, Summer Easton, Manly, while Viktorie Trebulova, Queenscliff, Josephine Jones, North Curl Curl, and Ivy Richards, Manly all made it through to the Quarter-final.
There were 153 athletes taking part in the U10 Male Board Race, a huge field. Two Manly athletes won through to the Final 16, Leonardo Tagliazucchi-Claridge and Jules Huisman. Dash Armstrong, Collaroy and Benson Wineera, Manly raced in the Semi-Final, and Sebastian McLeod, Manly, won a spot in the Quarter-final.
116 athletes took part in the U9 Female Beach Flags, including Phoebe Dobson, North Steyne, Zara Petersen, Collaroy, Aria Amos, Freshwater, Ellie O'Keeffe, North Narrabeen, Sia Murray, Avalon Beach, Matilda Taggart, Collaroy, Emily Little, Freshwater, Jasmine Mccamey, Mona Vale, Kira Henderson, North Curl Curl, Bonnie Crosbie, Freshwater, Amelia Berry, North Narrabeen, Hanna Grant, North Curl Curl, Olivia Wootton, Mona Vale, Molly Martin, North Curl Curl, Heidi Dunn, Freshwater, Grace Tague, Freshwater, Lucy Grosmann, Queenscliff, Lola Wayne, Dee Why, Tahlia Raynes-Greenow, Dee Why, Maya Gaffney, Manly, Remy Eagle, Collaroy, Grace Elizabeth Wright, Dee Why, Matilda Grabham, North Curl Curl, Isabella Rose Auld, Dee Why, and Zoe Burton, North Curl Curl also stood up and represented their clubs on the sand.
In the U10 Male Beach Flags, 125 athletes competed. Beau Riches, Manly, placed best in his division, taking 4th, while Kieran Ling, Collaroy was also up among the leaders placing 9th overall. Toby Creelman, North Curl Curl and Zack Anderhov and Charlie Herfort both of North Steyne, Tasman Vale, Newport, Jules Huisman and Marcello Caoduro, both Manly, Nathan Woolford, Long Reef, Sam Kenna and Mitchell Kew, both Collaroy, Harley Roberts, Freshwater, Zach Meurer and Tyler Rothery, both from Mona Vale SLSC, Troy Roberts, Freshwater, Archer Malackey, Queenscliff, Toni Rolle, Dee Why, Jonah Walker, North Steyne, Kyahn Hyde, Freshwater, Harley Ehnbom, North Curl Curl, Risay Yawata-Ibadulla, Queenscliff, Dash Armstrong, Collaroy, Thomas Moloney, North Curl Curl, Sebastian Richter, Dee Why, William (Billy) Barnett, Freshwater, Cameron Carruthers, Queenscliff, William King, Collaroy, Juno Slatter, Queenscliff, Kyan Girven, North Curl Curl, Eamon Dinnie, North Curl Curl, and Sebastian McLeod, Manly, represented their clubs.
There were 124 athletes competing in the U9 Female Beach Sprint. Phoebe Dobson, North Steyne won the Bronze in this huge field, while Josephine Han, Queenscliff, placed 5th and won points for her club. To make it through all those heats to the final 8 is no small achievement.
The U9 Male Beach Sprint comprised a field of 133 athletes and saw Darcy Sims, North Curl Curl, win the Silver medal while Ziggy Klein, Queenscliff, secured 4th in the Final. Samuel Travis, North Curl Curl, was also among the Final 9 sprinters. Fletcher Humphrey, Mona Vale, won through to the Quarter-finals in this event, placing 2nd, and Ziggy Klein, Queenscliff, secured a 3rd in the Semi-Final - great stuff!
Jules Huisman, Manly, won Silver in the U10 Male Beach Sprint from a field of 133 athletes.
On the Friday the Under 9s and 10s wrapped up their title tilts and U11-U14 got their first taste of the action as the 2023 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships continued along Queenscliff and Manly Beach.
The weather was pure end-of-Summer stuff and competition extended across a further two water areas to accommodate the inclusion of Board Rescue and the Cameron Relay into the timetable.
On the beach, U9 competitors enjoyed their first Sprints, Flags and Relays of what will hopefully be many long and storied State Championships careers. The excitement from the Freshwater team, who picked up the bronze, was infectious. The quartet of Emily Little, Heidi Dunn, Ethan Taylor and Archie Regan already have the sights set on next year.
In the water, Millie Gaudry of Manly LSC secured a Bronze in the U10 Female Surf Race.
Sticking with the water but shifting north from Manly to Queenscliff, and seven different winners across four age categories showed the depth and competitiveness of the Board Rescue event with Freshwater SLSC picking up gold medals with Freshwater Team A - U12 Male Board Rescue; Bradley Nitz and Harrison Ayer taking the Gold while North Curl Curl Team A - U12 Male Board Rescue; Reuben Te Pania and Dylan Darsley won the Silver.
North Steyne Team A - U13 Male Board Rescue; Kody Burrows and Rory Pennie placed 5th in the Final. Two Manly Teams, Manly Team B - Austin Nicholson and Thomas McMurtry, and Manly Team A - Henry Whitehead and Jacob Chalmers, also made it into the Final.
Newport Team A - U13 Female Board Rescue; Matilda Young and Sadie Maggs, won Silver in the U13 Board Rescue final.
Newport Team A - U14 Female Board Rescue; Alannah Paul and Abigail Capell, placed 4th in the Final, taking points for their club, as did Newport Team A - U11 Female Board Rescue; Sarella Symonds and Molly Young in winning through to their age division Final.
The day ended with a home beach crowd pleaser – Felix Stephens of North Steyne SLSC picking up a win in the U12 Male 1km Beach Run.
The 2023 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly presented by Your local club, continued on Saturday with a spate of beach and water events for U11-U14 ahead of a bumper finals day on Sunday.
A bumper finals day greeted competitors and spectators at Queenscliff Beach on Sunday, Day 4 and final day of the 2023 Age Championships, with two water zones and a flag pit in action as athletes contested the Iron, Board, Surf Race Cameron Relay and Beach Flags.
Henry Whitehead of Manly LSC and Lily Egan of Cooks Hill were winners in the U13 Male and U14 Female Board Race, while North Curl Curl SLSC and Terrigal were big winners in the U13 Female and U14 Male Cameron Relay events.
The day ended alongside Queenscliff SLSC at the flag pit – earlier the site of the always impressive March Past, won by Mona Vale SLSC – as spectators surrounded the arena to watch the final medals of the Championships being earned.
Miller Siasat completed yet another Sprint and Flags double in the third-to-last race of the day, while other notable winners were Kayla Davies of Freshwater SLSC in the U13 Female.
The 2023 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships picks back up again on Wednesday 1 March for the Masters Championships before Open athletes and Surf Boats hit the beach from Friday 3 March.
TOP 10 CLUBS
1. North Bondi SLSC
2. Coogee SLSC
3. Wanda SLSC
4. South Maroubra SLSC
5. North Curl Curl SLSC
6. Swansea-Belmont SLSC
7. Elouera SLSC
8. Manly LSC
9. North Cronulla SLSC
10. Umina SLSC
Photos: Surf Life Saving NSW