Country Champs Athlete Profile: Klinkers Family

With the 2015 Stramit NSW Country Championships just around the corner, SLSNSW takes a look at some of those hoping to make their mark on the event.

The Country Championships at Mollymook will be a family affair for the Klinkers of Sawtell SLSC. For the first time all three siblings, Mette, Finn, and Ella will be competing together at a major championships for the first time.

The family love the water, and the surf life saving movement, and are looking forward to an exciting time away with their team.

Proud mum Brigitte gave SLSNSW an insight into the family's achievements, goals, and preparations for the Country Championships.

Names: Mette (U14), Finn (U10) and Ella (U8) Klinkers
Club: Sawtell SLSC

Some events you are planning to contest:

Mette: Board, surf, iron, R&R and board relay. Mette's favourite event is board closely followed by iron.

Finn: Board, surf, flags, all age relay, sprint etc. Finn's favourite event is board closely followed by flags.

Ella: Wade, sprint, flags and all age relay. Ella's favourite event is sprint closely followed by the wade.

Previous appearances or results at Country Champs or other major events:

Mette has been competing at Country since the U9s, earning 2 team medals ( bronze in sprint relay U11 and board relay U10) and one individual (silver in U9 flags) and made it to many final races. She has also represented the North Coast Branch at Interbranch since 2012.

Finn surprised everyone (including himself) by getting a gold medal in his board race at last year's Country.

Ella has been earning many ribbons in the branch carnivals this season and is very much looking forward to finally being allowed to race at Country instead of just watching her siblings compete.

How long have you three been involved in surf lifesaving?

Mette started in Sawtell as a 5year old in the U6's, Finn and Ella also started as soon as they were allowed in U6. Mette has completed her SRC just before Christmas and already had 2 patrol shifts.

What do you enjoy most about being a member of a surf lifesaving club?

Mette: “I love doing patrol and knowing all about CPR and first aid. It’s also great being physically active and spending time with friends... I enjoy the whole lot actually!”

Finn: “I really enjoy being with my friends on the beach and getting to spend lots of time in the ocean with all the physical challenges that the beach in Sawtell can give.”

Ella: “I love being in the water and jumping in the waves and sneakily having a go on Mette's longboard. “

Do you enjoy heading off to compete at carnivals together – is there any sibling rivalry at times?

Yes it's always been a family affair! A carnival is like any other event for the Klinkers kids. They have 'competitions' in many different areas so a nipper carnival is not treated any different; at the end of the day/event they can't wait to count and compare ribbons and see who has the most!

How has your training been going for the Country Championships and do you train as a family?

The kids have trained with their trainers from the club with their own group, however in the lead up to Country Finn has started training in Mette's group. The Sawtell trainers are - Kevin Clancy, Greg Russell, Greg Jenssen, Rob Lyons, Andrew Martin and Ian Dellar. Many swim training sessions have been had in Coffs War Memorial Olympic Pool (coached by Dean and Andrew). The kids also train with a family friend where we 'swap' kids to train each other.

What are your goals for the Championships and the rest of the season?

For all 3 to compete to the best of their ability, hopefully making it into finals.

Does anyone have any pre-event superstitions or preparations?

Just healthy eating except the day before the event start cheesy mac with bacon NEEDS to be consumed!

What are you most looking forward to about Country Championships?

Mette: “I’m looking forwarding forward to meeting up with my many friends that I have made over the years from other clubs, and seeing how competitive my age group has become. We’ve all got a lot stronger and definitely more skilful, so it’s going to be a great opportunity to see how I go against them,”

Finn: “It’s going to be great fun competing, plus there’s a great Chinese restaurant in Ulladellla!”

Ella: “I’m really happy I’m finally allowed to compete and the time I will get to go the iPad during the 11 hour car trip.”

Brigitte: “All 3 are also looking forward to being together as a family in a beautiful environment spending time together, and are eagerly awaiting the Team Sawtell dinner on Saturday as this was a major highlight for them last year.”

Are there any surf athletes you admire or have found to be an inspiration and why?

Bonnie and Courtney Hancock from Sawtell have been their idols. Many signed shirts, photos, stickers have been collected.

Photograh: L-R Mette, Ella, and Finn are all smiles after a tough training session in 2014.

The 2015 Stramit NSW Country Championships will be held at Mollymook Beach on Jan 16-18. For further information about the Championships, please check out our event page

Wed 14 Jan 2015