Cudgen Headland Whitewash at Country Champs
The Far North Coast juggernaut from Cudgen Headland SLSC has obliterated the competition at the 2017 Stramit NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships at South West Rocks this weekend.
After losing to Byron Bay SLSC last year by just seven points, Cudgen competitors have had the title in their sights for the last 12 months and ended up with more than double the points of nearest rival Sawtell SLSC.
In taking the Champions Shield, Cudgen has also ended the six–year winning streak of the fiercely competitive Byron Bay club, which ended up in third place overall.
While sheer numbers helped the Cudgen crew to victory, some outstanding performances from key competitors saw the Cudgen stakes rise rapidly over the weekend.
But it was in the teams events where the club demonstrated almost total domination over its rivals.
Cudgen secured a trifecta in the beach relays winning the Under 17, Under 19 and Open event in both male and female divisions. Wins in the premier team event, the Taplin Relay were also recorded in Open Male and Female, and U17 and U19 Male. The U15 Male and Female Cameron Relays also fell to Cudgen.
Stella performances were seen by Anthea Warne who won the U17 Board, Surf and Ironwoman, then backed-up to win the Open Surf Race as well. Luke Chaffer claimed the U19 Board, Ski and Ironman along with the Open Ski and Ironman. And it was a Cudgen-only presentation for the Open Board Race with Scott McCartney, Rory Matthews and Luke Chaffer all on the podium.
In her first year of racing in the opens, Hayley Smith dominated in the U15s winning Beach Flags, Board, Ironwoman and Rescue Tube Races.
Cudgen Headland’s Director of Surf Sports Matthew Bell says the club has been right behind the team in preparing for this event.
“The whole club has put in a lot of work since the last Championships and have been determined to get the victory and to do it so convincingly this time round, it’s a credit to the team and the rest of the club.
“We had around 70 nippers here this weekend and our more experienced athletes like Scott McCartney and Nadi Canning are big mentors for the kids and push the whole team to give their best,” said Matt Bell.
The other surprise result of the championships was Sawtell SLSC finishing second on the overall pointscore, the best result the club can recall getting at this event. The North Coast club has had the benefit of an influx of new competitors this season and was consistent throughout the weekend.
Significant wins included the Junior Mixed Buchanan Relay, the Cameron Relay, the U15 Female Board Relay and the U11 Surf Teams and Board Relay. Breah and Hayley Fischer were all over the U11 and U13 age groups in the water and on the beach, while Aidan Blaxland took gold in the U13 Ironman. In the U19s, Sophia McConnachie won the Board Race and Jonah Mitchell took out the Beach Flags and the 2km Beach Run.
Sawtell’s Team Manager Ian James says his competitors are very happy with this weekend’s result.
“We’re delighted with our performance. Our team was really looking forward to the Country Champs and to see them get a reward for all the training they put in is great. It’s been our best results in a long time so we’re very happy,” said Ian James.
With the Country Championships over for another year, the South West Rocks SLSC volunteers can take a well-earned break after hosting the event for the last two years.
Club President Rod McDonagh says his team have done a fantastic job delivering another great event.
“It’s been a lot of hard work by many of our members but it also brings a lot to the local area and is an important event for our country surf athletes,” said Rod McDonagh.
“The Kempsey Shire Council have been very supportive and so has our event partner Stramit. I want to thank everyone who played a part in making this year’s championships so successful.” A venue for the 2018 Country Championships is yet to be determined and will be announced in the coming months.
Top 10 Pointscore:
1 Cudgen Headland SLSC 1105
2 Sawtell SLSC Inc 541
3 Byron Bay SLSC 473
4 Port Macquarie SLSC 352
5 Lennox Head - Alstonville SLSC 301
6 Warilla Barrack Point SLSC 259
7 Coffs Harbour SLSC 202
8 Tacking Point SLSC 183
9 Cabarita Beach SLSC 175
10 Wauchope Bonny Hills SLSC 174
Photo: Cudgen Headland celebrating their win.
Sun 5 Feb 2017