Hunter Surf Lifesavers Tackle State’s Best

The first person Lawson Christiansen from Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club found having been declared the winner of the 2015 NSW Surf Life Saving Championship U15 boys sprint was teary mum Trish, who knows full well how hard Lawson has worked.

Christiansen finished fourth in the sprint last year and figured he had to build up his endurance and strength in order to beat the powerhouse running team from Helensburgh-Stanwell Park SLSC.

“I’ve trained pretty much every day since then,” said the sole sand competitor for Caves Beach SLSC who gold-medalled on Saturday March 14,2015 then backed up on Sunday in the beach flags, both times relegating HSP athletes to the runner-up placing.

“The state sprint medal was my ultimate goal, and it’s my first state gold.” Christiansen is relatively new to State Championship competition having realised in U13s that he was quick across the sand.

“Caves Beach club has been absolutely wonderful supporting Lawson,” added Trish Kuczynski. "Lawson has worked so hard this year, he really committed himself. It was so close last year.”

Lily Costello from Redhead SLSC surprised herself with a championship victory in the Under 17 Ironwoman event on finals day, Sunday March 15 when competitors were dealing with high onshore winds and choppy surf whipped up by a strong southerly change late morning.

The Redhead Open Surf Team winners were also on fire after their win on Saturday.

“There was a little bit of a wave to sort you out, it’s good to be able to have a break coming back to the beach,” said Ethan Whiteman.

“The Taplin is the one we are all after, it’s the premier surf event for swimmers and Redhead is looking forward to heavy conditions on Sunday. Where we come from it’s pretty windy with plenty of chop, we are used to those conditions and more confident in them.”

Well their wish came true with Mother Nature delivering very rough conditions and the Redhead boys storming home to claim second place in the highly-prized Taplin event on Sunday. Whiteman combined with his silver medal winning team of Isak Costello, Stewart McLachlan, Peter Scott, Mark Stowe, and Daniel Collins.

For the third year the Central Coast’s Umina and Ocean Beach SLSC staged the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships proudly supported by ClubsNSW.

Around 2,500 athletes from around the state, as far south as Narooma and as far north as Cudgen Headland SLSC, and their entourages travelled to the region for the three-day competition straight off the Masters and Age competitions the weekend prior.

The best finishing Hunter club was Redhead in 10th position.

“Congratulations to the winning Newport club,” said NSW Surf Life Saving sports manager Shane Knight following the championships.

“We’ve had a great three days of competition here at Ocean Beach-Umina, again a wonderful host.

“The standard of competition has been extremely high and it was a fitting celebration to honour the centenary of the founding of surf sports.”

Photograph: Lawson Christiansen (Caves Beach) celebrates after winning gold at the NSW Surf Life Saving Open Championships.

Credit: Jamie Nilsson/SLSNSW

Thu 19 Mar 2015