Newport SLSC Claims Top Gong at NSW Surf Life Saving Open Champs

Newport Surf Life Saving Club from Sydney’s Northern Beaches has been crowned the overall winner at the 2014 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, supported by ClubsNSW and held at Ocean Beach and Umina from 7-9 March.

Three days of near perfect conditions saw over 2500 athletes participate in a range of team and individual events with five Sydney Northern Beaches clubs finishing in the Top 10 of the overall pointscore.

Three years ago, Newport were ranked twenty-first in the overall pointscore but with a dedicated team of athletes, coaches, mentors and spectators, the club has worked hard to take out the prestigious title.

After Day Two Newport certainly put their stamp on team events winning the Open Male Single Ski Relay, Open Male Board Relay, U17 Male Taplin Relay, U17 Male Board Relay, U19 Male Surf Team, U19 Male Board Rescue, U19 Male Rescue Tube Rescue, U19 Male Taplin Relay, U19 Male Board Relay, U19 Mixed Single Ski Relay and U19 Mixed Surf Belt.

By the conclusion of Day 3 they had also taken out the main team event in the Open Male Taplin Relay as well as walked away with a hoard of individual results.

18 year old Bodi Smith, who won two individual gold medals in the Open and U19 Board Riding events explained that the Newport club came in with a real plan.

"As a club we all have talked about our goal of finishing in the Top 3 at State and in the Top 5 at Aussies this year.

"We've got a new gym, a team bus and there's so much positive energy around the club at the moment," said Bodi.

Max Brooks was awarded the Jacob Lollback Memorial Trophy after a convincing win in the U19 Board Race and was also victorious in the U19 Ironperson, Open Male Taplin Relay, U19 Taplin Relay, Open Male Board Relay, U19 Male Surf Team, U19 Male Board Rescue, U19 Male Double Ski and U19 Mixed Single Ski Relay.

“Newport’s numbers are up this year, we have some great new additions and have really stepped up the training,” said Brooks.

Manly LSC also had a successful weekend finishing second in the overall pointscore and with Georgia Miller taking out the prestigious title of Open Ironwoman.

Olympic kayaker Naomi Flood was thrilled with the efforts of Manly following their win in the Open Ski Relay, an event which the club has won since it was first introduced.

“NSW State Championships are so fun. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with friends from as far back as nippers. It is still serious though and a good hit out before Aussies – you really can’t hide out there.

“We are traditional Aussie battlers down here in NSW and I take my hat off to everyone who hangs in there. I live across the QLD border but I bleed blue and will always be a New South Welshman,” said Naomi.

Superstar Mieke Kassulke also from Manly, known as the smiling assassin, came out to win the U19 and Open Board Race as well as the Open Rescue Tube Rescue, Open Single Ski Relay, Open Double Ski, U19 Single Ski and U19 Board Relay. She also secured silver in the U19 Ironperson and Taplin Relay and bronze in the Open Single Ski and Open Board Relay.

Three on the final runner to the beach, Mieke’s size and strength gave her the edge for the final sprint to the finish gate.

“There are so many other tough competitors here,” she said.

“In these conditions there aren’t many good waves. Whoever gets a good start is set up for the race. I’ve been training so hard this season.”

As the day unfolded and the medals accumulated Kassulke was asked how the energy levels were holding up. “When you are happy you don’t notice the tiredness. Being around so much talent lifts your performance.”

Collaroy’s Katie Williams worked her way up to win the Open Female Flags after beating a pack of Helensburgh Stanwell Park competitors.

“I’ve been on the comeback from a back injury and it still really showed in my sprint yesterday as I really faded in my last 20 metres to fall away from the leaders. I’ve been healthy for two months now and I should continue to improve for Aussies and then Worlds in France later in the year.”

“I think what got me over the line today was when I reached the final 6 I turned around and noticed my nan who had come up from Sydney to surprise me. She hates the beach so this is a big deal to have her here cheering me on,” she beamed.

Queenscliff SLSC was also well represented with superstar Callum Lowe-Griffiths coming away with 6 gold medals in the U15 Surf Race, U15 Surf Team, U15 Board Rescue, U15 Cameron Relay, U15 Rescue Tube Rescue Race and U15 Board Relay.

Queenscliff Head Coach, Chris Allum, couldn’t be happier with the team.

“There is a massive rebuilding phase going on at the club and it is unusual that one club whitewashes every event but our group of U15 boys are doing just that,” said Chris.

“Medalling at State Championships means a lot to anyone. We are looking forward to Aussies and it is a rare bunch of boys at Queensie and I couldn’t be happier with them,” he added.

The top 15 clubs in the overall pointscore were as follows:

1.) Newport SLSC
2.) Manly LSC
3.) Wanda SLSC Inc
4.) North Cronulla SLSC
5.) Elouera SLSC
6.) Cronulla SLSC
6.) Swansea Belmont SLSC
7.) Helensburgh-Stanwell Park SLSC
8.) Avoca Beach SLSC
9.) Queenscliff SLSC
9.) Freshwater SLSC
10.)Collaroy SLSC
10.)North Bondi SLSC
11.)Coogee SLSC (NSW)
12.)Terrigal SLSC
13.)Umina SLSC Inc
14.)Redhead SLSC
15.)Byron Bay SLSC

Next week the 2014 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships conclude with the Masters Championships and for all results including the overall pointscore, please visit the 2014 NSW Surf Life Saving Opens Championships event page.

Pending final Council approval the NSW Championships will return to Ocean Beach/Umina in 2015 with final dates yet to be determined.

Mon 10 Mar 2014