Beach Stars Light Up Track

A full program of Beach Events and a number of team Water Events headlined a scintillating second day of action at the 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships at Blacksmiths Beach in Lake Macquarie on Saturday.

On the back of a dominant day on the sand Newport surged to the overall lead in the club point-score ahead of Manly with Bate Bay clubs Wanda, Cronulla and North Cronulla rounding out the top five.

A sizeable crowd gathered at the ClubsNSW Arena to watch the cream of the sand battle it out for glory and a slight tailwind promised fast times.

In the U15 Sprint Finals Isabellah Walker (Cronulla) and Keeghan Norwood (Mollymook) were crowned champions. Cronulla’s Chloe Mannix-Power powered her way to her third straight title in the U17s while Michael Hanna (Elouera) was first past-the-post in the men’s.

North Curl Curl’s Sophie McGovern showed a clean pair of heels to take out a hotly contested U19 Final before backing up 20 minutes later to take silver in the Open Race.

Mollymook’s Tim Burgmann showed no lasting effects of a leg injury that has sidelined him for the better part of last season to claim gold in the U19 Male Race.

While in the Open Women’s veterans Laura Shorter (Newport) who shrugged off the effects of a back injury and Davina Strauss (Coledale) racing to the gold and bronze medal respectively only to be split by rising star Sophie McGovern.

“That victory was totally unexpected. It was nice for myself and Davina to get among the medals but full credit to the young girls they were absolutely fantastic and really put the pressure on us,” said Laura Shorter.

So close was the Men’s Open Sprint that a blanket could have been thrown over first three finishers. In the end Newport’s Jake Lynch was given the nod by the judges which secured his third Open crown with clubmate Blake Drysdale and Dean Scarff joining him on the podium.

“It was great to race with Blake – he’s probably the quickest starter in the country so to have him in the lane next to me really got me off to a good start. I think for me today’s race was all about holding my form and staying relaxed particularly over that last 20 metres,” said Jake Lynch.

With almost the entire field of each age group backing up for the Beach Flags it promised to be a highly competitive event.

Alex Rampoldi (NorthCronulla) claimed gold in the Open Female Flags with Katie Williams (Newport) and Davina Strauss joining her on the podium.

Blake Drysdale earned his second individual medal of the day by taking out the Open Male Event.

Other Flag winners included Thirroul’s Jazmine Yew (U17s), Sam Zustovich (Mollymook U15s) and Cronulla’s Ngaire Hadfield (U19s).

Freshwater and Collaroy had a successful day in the traditional R & R events which were conducted earlier on Saturday.

Collaroy claimed gold in the combined U14/15 2 Person Event and the Open 5 Person Event, while Freshwater won the Open Male 5 Person R & R.

A number of team events were contested in the water on Day 2 with one of the highlights being the U19 Female Taplin Relay. Umina’s Jemma Smith, Rachel Wood, and Jazmyn Rodwell needed all their skills to take gold in the race finishing ahead of Wanda and Newport.

Redhead enjoyed success in the U19 Male Surf Teams race with Hayden Copping, Lucas Corrigan, Justin McMorland and Lucas Soars joining forces to take home gold, while Newport took out the Open Female Race.

Manly fielded a very strong team in the Male Open Race with Ironmen Kendrick Louis, Jay Furniss, and Nathan Smith joining Evan Stratton to claim the title.

A strong swell meant there were plenty of waves for the Ski Paddlers to negotiate throughout the day with the Relay Finals being tightly fought.

Newport were too strong for Redhead and Umina in the U19 Female Single Ski Relay with the Sydney Northern Beaches club also taking out the Male Race in that division ahead of Manly and North Bondi.

In the Male Open Ski Relay Avoca Beach was boosted by the inclusion of Olympians Lachlan Tame and Riley Fitzsimmons and with Robert McIntyre also paddling a fantastic leg the team took gold ahead of Redhead and Manly.

Open Championships – Progressive Point Score

Newport SLSC 231
Manly LSC 139
Wanda SLSC 136
Cronulla SLSC 132
North Cronulla SLSC 95
Freshwater SLSC 88
Umina SLSC 81
Coogee SLSC 76
Mollymook Surf Life Saving Club 66 v
North Bondi SLSC 50

The 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships proudly supported by Your local club concludes at Blacksmiths Beach, Swansea with the third and final day of action on Sunday 12 March

Sat 11 Mar 2017