Narrow Lead For Cudgen Headland After Day 1

Byron Bay’s quest to win a sixth straight title won’t be determined until tomorrow after their Branch rivals Cudgen Headland SLSC took the lead on an exciting first day of competition at the 2016 Stramit NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships held at the picturesque South West Rocks.

Cudgen Headland finished the day on 492 points – 17 points clear of Byron Bay with Coffs Harbour SLSC (297), Sawtell SLSC and Port Macquarie SLSC rounding out the top five.

Hosts South West Rocks also enjoyed a strong start to their competition finishing the day in 13th spot.

Over 1400 competitors aged from 8 through to over 70 travelled to the Mid-North Coastal town for the two-day competition which is always a highlight on the Surf Life Saving calendar. A full program of events was scheduled with the surf boat crews, and board riders first into the water on Saturday.

It was a bright start for Wauchope-Bonny Hills SLSC with the club taking out the first medals of the day in the traditional Rescue and Resuscitation event.

There were a number of strong performances on the water and in the surf throughout the first day of competition.

Paige Leishman (Byron Bay SLSC) powered home to win a tight U14 Ironwoman finishing ahead of Cudgen Headland duo Hayley Smith and Sophie Watson.

“There wasn’t a lot of swell out there today, it was actually very flat once you got out past the break. I’ve still got a lot of events to do so this was a positive start to the competition for me,” a delighted Leishman said after the race.

The youngster who moved to Byron Bay this season is really enjoying her time with her new club.

“I’m very happy to get the win as it highlights to me that all my hard work at training is paying off. I’m really enjoying my time at Byron Bay – everyone is just so supportive and there’s a lot of great coaching and competitors, it’s a lot of fun to be a part of.”

Other winners in the women’s Iron events included Cudgen Headland’s Nadine Canning (Open), Joanna Charles (Byron Bay U19), and Sawtell’s Tahlia Kollen (U17). Nadine also won the board and finished second in the ski.

Cudgen’s Scott McCartney took out the Open Iron Man and Open Board events while NSW Youth Team Member Jy Timperley took out the U17 event.

There was success for 2015 Country Champ hosts Mollymook in the men’s Open Sprint when Steine Lofts powered home to win in what was a close finish.

Lofts also won the Open Flags event.

“It was a really tough race there was quite a strong headwind and the course went uphill a little bit which was something I very much had to be aware of,” Steine Lofts said.

“I think my build definitely helped me today as I need to be in front with 20 metres to go as I’ve got no chance of running anyone down!”

The 2016 Stramit NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships will continue tomorrow 7 February with events beginning from 7am.

Top 10 Day 1 Point Score:

Cudgen Headland SLSC 538
Byron Bay SLSC 513
Coffs Harbour SLSC 325
Sawtell SLSC 225
Port Macquarie SLSC 180
Warilla Barrack Point SLSC 173
Lennox Head - Alstonville SLSC 170
Mollymook Surf Life Saving Club 128
Wauchope Bonny Hills SLSC 127
Yamba SLSC 108

Sat 6 Feb 2016