Girl Power on Show at State Champs

For International Women’s Day, Manly Surf Life Saving Club’s superstars put on a powerful display at the Allphones NSW Opens Surf Life Saving Championships at Ocean Beach–Umina.

The line-up for the second of the open women’s single ski semi-final - Naomi Flood, Devon Halligan, Jo Brigden-Jones, Sarah Knapman and Candice Falzon - was seriously weighted in Manly’s favour and it was difficult for the rest of the field not to feel overawed.

All five easily qualified for Sunday’s final in this and their other pet events, backing up through the heats and the quarter finals of multiple events.

Six-time NSW ironwoman Naomi Flood switched from surf lifesaving to sprint kayaking a couple of years ago and qualified for the Australian Sprint Kayak Olympic Team which took her to the London Games.

She and Bridgen-Jones are in training for a national kayaking event to be held in Perth in a month’s time, this weekend’s state surf lifesaving title proving a good shakedown.

“I haven’t done much surf this summer, now I’ve really got to knuckle-down for the kayaking Australian title,” Flood said after her seemingly effortless qualifying time in the single ski.

On the conditions today she added, “The wind was tough and there was no surf so you really had to put your head down. It’s important to be in a good spot at the start otherwise it ends up being a hard race. You can’t make mistakes.”

On Manly’s strong women’s team ‘Floody’ was happy to expand, “We have a really good girls crew with lots of strength in the open and under 19 and 17 age group. We just have to keep the girls coming through.

“There’s a lot of laughing in our tent, we have great fun she added.”

Summery conditions at Ocean Beach-Umina blessed the first of three days of open competition. As the tide retreated the ski gates and turning cans were shifted accordingly and the beach opened up from this morning’s skinny stretch of sand. Today’s program was all about the water, tomorrow the beach athletes will have their chance while the salt water action continues.

Big crowds are expected over the weekend as spectators flock to the beach to see up to 2,500 of the state’s best lifesavers in action. The best is yet to come; some finals will be run tomorrow with the majority scheduled for Sunday, the blockbuster with back to back finals including the carnival pinnacle, the open ironman and woman event.

Results from day one at the event page.

Fri 8 Mar 2013