Open Competitors Primed For State Champs

Over 4000 of the state’s best surf sport athletes will make their way to Ocean Beach- Umina from Wednesday for the start of the 2016 NSW Surf Life Saving Masters and Open Championships for what promises to be a barnstorming five days of competition.

In the Opens, defending champions Newport will again field a strong team with Nutri-Grain Competitors Max Brooks and Kendrick Louis among those looking for medals as is Jayke Rees who has had a solid summer season, while fierce rivals Manly will be boosted by the inclusion of veteran Nathan Smith and young guns such as in-form Ironman Jay Furniss and Emily Doyle.

Collaroy’s Dean Scarf and Katie Williams will be out to retain their titles on the beach but will face stiff competition with Helensburgh-Stanwell Park SLSC among those fielding a talented beach team.

Boosted by their success at last month’s Country Championships the Far North Coast will field a team of over 50 lifesavers with Luke Chaffer, Scott McCartney, Angus McPhail (Cudgen Headland), and Jy Timperley, Joanna Charles, and Scout Hembrow (Byron Bay) among the Country medallists looking forward to the challenge of competing against their bigger branch rivals.

Sawtell’s Tahlia Kollen won 25 medals at the Country Champs last month and is part of a contingent of North Coast lifesavers who will make the trip, while Redhead’s Lilly Costello will be out to continue her strong 2015/16 season which saw her selected in the NSW Youth Interstate team that competed at Torquay in January.

Hosts Central Coast will field almost 250 competitors in order to take full advantage of the last state championships in their home waters. Umina’s Jemma Smith has been in great form this summer and will be out to continue her winning streak. Avoca Beach’s Kaitlyn Matuschka and Brad McCloghry are among a host of local competitors who will enter the titles as defending champions.

A number of Illawarra and southern NSW clubs have their strongest athletes competing with a high chance of medals in a number of events throughout the weekend. Steine Lofts from Mollymook along with a host of Helensburgh-Stanwell Park beach competitors will be the ones to watch at Saturday’s finals.

The southern clubs will also have a strong presence in the water from Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC and Moruya, Batemans Bay and Broulee in the surfboats.

There will also be an international flavour at the championships with three Japanese athletes lining up to take on the best that NSW has to offer, while a small contingent of surf lifesavers from Darwin will also make the trip south.

NSW Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon expects a strong competition.

“I think all of us as fans of surf sport are looking forward to what promises to be an extremely exciting program of racing. The NSW Championships always delivers and with many of these athletes pushing for selection in the Australian team to contest the World Titles later this year every race has something on the line,” Mr Pidgeon said.

“I would like to wish all competitors, coaches, and officials the very best of luck for the remainder of the Championships,” he concluded.

Photo: 2015 State Champs Open Female Flags

Tue 8 Mar 2016