Country Champs Kicks Off

More than 1400 surf lifesavers and thousands more spectators and officials took to the water and sand at South West Rocks for Day One of the 2017 Stramit NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships.

The competitors battled hot weather and strong sea breezes before the carnival was suspended for the day at 3.30pm when storm activity threatened.

Along with some great racing in all event areas, there were plenty of new faces and some competitors sporting new caps after changing clubs recently.

One of those was Tahlia Kollen who won the U19 Ironwoman for her local club Urunga where she has returned after competing for Sawtell in previous seasons.

Nadi Canning found success in the Open Ironwoman, competing for Cudgen Headland SLSC. Her club mate Anthea Warne was also victorious in the U17 Ironwoman.

The Cudgen Headland winning streak continued in this event with Hayley Smith winning gold in the U15 Ironwoman. Olyssa Onley won the U13 Ironwoman for her new club Cudgen after moving from Coffs Harbour.

In the U15 Ironman, Finn Askew won for his new club Tacking Point SLSC after transferring from South West Rocks this season. Finn’s brother Harry Askew won the U11 Ironman for neighbouring club Port Macquarie SLSC.

On the beach there was a good mix of clubs and competitors taking to the podium with results spread across the state.

North and Far North Coast clubs clocked up wins in Beach Flags and Beach Sprints and Relays, however smaller clubs also got a look in across the age groups.

Under 10 Beach Flags winner James Williams carried the torch for Forster SLSC alongside Beth Lee who took out the Open Female Beach Flags.

Newcomer to the championships, Miller Siasat won the U8 Beach Flags for the small south coast club Kiama Downs.

Another southern competitor who will be glad to have made the trip north is Steine Lofts from Mollymook who won the prestigious Open Male Beach Flags for the third year running.

After Day One in the overall pointscore, Sawtell SLSC will be over the moon with their second place behind powerhouse Cudgen Headland in first place and Lennox Head-Alstonville rounding out the top three.

Day One Overall Pointscore

  1. Cudgen Headland SLSC 418
  2. Sawtell SLSC 276
  3. Lennox Head-Alstonville SLSC 211
  4. Byron Bay SLSC 185
  5. Port Macquarie SLSC 173
  6. Wauchope Bonny Hills SLSC 113
  7. Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC 112
  8. Tacking Point SLSC 100
  9. Cabarita Beach SLSC 95
  10. Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore SLSC 86

Photo: South West Rocks during day one of competition at the 2017 Country Championships.

Sat 4 Feb 2017