Hunter Athletes in the Medal Haul at State Champs

Over the three-day 2016 NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships supported by ClubsNSW, close to 2500 beach and water athletes ranging from Olympians to professional surf stars through to rising under 14s battled it out at Ocean Beach-Umina on the Central Coast. Redhead SLSC was the top-performing Hunter club.

For the third year, powerhouse club Newport won the state carnival on overall points, this time by a huge margin over rival Manly, thanks to the efforts of key athletes including Hannah Minogue, Mitchell Trim, Georgia Miller and Dane Farrell, backed up by a strong squad across all age categories and disciplines.

The three days of competition for Hunter athletes were a stand out with a host of surf lifesavers finishing on top. Redhead finished first in the prestigious Under 19 Male Taplin and third in the Open Male Taplin relay.

Isak Costello made his mark on the State Championships crossing the line first in the Open Male Board and he continued that form throughout the final day.

“All year I’ve been training with my coach Andrew Blatchford, he was the first lay down paddler to win an Australian board title and I’ve been trying to do different things. We’ve really been putting it in at training so I’m stoked to come off with a result like that,” said Isak Costello.

“I knew I was fit and coming in when I turned the last can I knew I honestly was ready to die out there to win that title. I was pretty numb for the whole race but I knew I could do it.”

The Under 19 Ironman final is a feature event at the State Championships and the field was stacked with big names: Charlie Brooks, Daniel Collins, Ollie Signorini, Luke Schaffer and Jackson Borg.

A small wave made the difference and helped Redhead’s Daniel Collins to the beach and to his feet quicker than the chasing pack, pipping Newport’s Jackson Borg and Charlie Brooks on the line.

“I’m pretty tired,” Collins admitted. “Before this I had the Open Swim and Under 19 Board and Swim. Because I’ve been racing in the Summer of Surf Series and versing some of the best guys each week I decided to keep my training the same and build more towards the Aussies. It’s the big one I want.

“The team’s feeling really good, we’ve had a couple of weekends away to build the teamwork and we are doing more to support everyone in the club.”

Lawson Christiansen flew the flag for Caves Beach SLSC on the sand claiming a silver and bronze in the U17 Flags and Sprint.

Merewether SLSC’s Nicola Owen picked up her first Open gold medal in the Under 15 Female Board Race.

“It hasn’t really sunk in, I’m really excited. I just focused on my start and made sure I got away early and stayed clean,” said the Year 9 student. “It’s hard balancing training and school, I did some maths homework while I was here this weekend. Being at State Champs is a good chance to catch up with people and it gives you confidence for Aussies.”

Surf Life Saving NSW Sport Manager, Rob Pidgeon is thankful for the efforts of the dedicated team of volunteers over the Championships.

“The 2016 NSW Championships has been an outstanding success thanks to Ocean Beach and Umina SLSCs and it’s a fitting end to four years of hosting the event,” Rob Pidgeon said. “I would also like to thank ClubsNSW and Gosford City Council for their support of this great event.”

Open Championships Top Ten
1 Newport SLSC 509
2 Manly LSC 292
3 Wanda SLSC 221
4 Cronulla SLSC 212
5 North Cronulla SLSC 157
6 Umina SLSC 134
7 Helensburgh-Stanwell Park SLSC 126
8 Elouera SLSC 122
9 Avoca Beach SLSC 121
10 Redhead SLSC 96

Pics: Isak Costello, Lawson Christiansen - courtesy Stephen Chu

Tue 15 Mar 2016