Far North Athletes Medal At Age Champs

A number of Far North Coast’s most promising juniors were on show during the three days of competition at the 2015 NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships, and while they didn’t win any gold medals they did show they have what it takes to be competitive against the best NSW has to offer.

Traditionally water events have always been a strength of the Byron Bay club and that looked set to continue with Leilani Carter (U10 Board) and Tex Hembrow (U11 Ironman) both picking up silver medals.

Also impressive was Zoe Hughes who was entered in the highly competitive U14 age group. Hughes collected bronze in the U14 Ironwoman and went within a metre of beating Manly’s Emily Doyle in a closely fought Board Race where she finished with the silver medal.

Tex Hembrow had barely hit the shore in the ironman before being swamped by an ecstatic and very proud mum. “We love you Tex!,” she screamed, throwing her arms around the still panting young competitor. The promising youngster, who did very well at the recent Country Championships, came into shore on the same wave as several other boys but managed to outrun them to the finish line to claim silver.

“I knew I had to get off the board at just the right time to beat the others and luckily I picked it,” said Tex. Hembrow and his two sisters are keen competitors at Byron Bay SLSC and Tex says he expected to be in the top six or so but was surprised he managed to come up with a second.

On the beach, Byron’s Bradley Hunt continued his recent run of form picking up a silver in the twilight final of the U14 Beach Sprint and finishing a highly competitive fourth in the Flags.

Branch rivals Cudgen Headland also finished the competition with some medals. Hayley Smith claimed silver in the U13 Board Race and Anthea Warne finished with bronze in the U14 Female Surf Race. Club mates Elizabeth Warne (U10 Surf), and Thom Swift (U13 Board) also made their respective finals.

“Congratulations to Manly who defended their Champion Club trophy with a series of strong showings this weekend. I would like to thank Ocean Beach-Umina for their flexibility and passion as hosts of the NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships,” Surf Life Saving NSW Sport Manager Shane Knight said following the conclusion of the carnival.

“Both clubs certainly embody the spirit of getting things done despite the numerous challenges thrown their way.”

Mr Knight also praised the efforts of the nippers across the Age Championships, noting the highly competitive spirit on display.

“We’ve certainly seen some amazing performances on the beach and in the water over the three days of competition, and what is also really encouraging is how competitive the U14 events in particular were.

“These athletes will hopefully use their experiences here at State when they make the transition into senior events next season.”

Final Point-Score:

Manly LSC 300
Wanda SLSC 191
Avoca Beach SLSC 122
Bronte SLSC 111
South Maroubra SLSC 110
Elouera SLSC 109
North Cronulla SLSC 106
Cooks Hill SLSC 91
Swansea-Belmont SLSC 77
Collaroy SLSC 73

Photograph: Byron Bay's Tex Hembrow stepped up to take silver in the U11 Ironman at the 2015 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships.

Credit: SLSNSW

Fri 20 Mar 2015