Stramit NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships Launched

The hard work has been done, now it is the competitors' time to shine – that’s the message the organising committee of the 2016 Stramit NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships had at the official launch ceremony held on Thursday.

Excitement was in the air as young lifesavers from South West Rocks SLSC joined representatives from the business community, Kempsey Shire Council and Stramit to launch country lifesaving’s biggest event.

The perfect beach-backdrop empty now but in just over three weeks’ time will be full of action and colour as surf lifesavers chase medals and personal bests.

With the Championships returning to the Mid-North Coast for the first time since 2013, there is expected to be an increased turn-out of competitors from right across Northern NSW who will look to take advantage of the great location.

Byron Bay SLSC will be out to continue their recent run of form at theChampionships defending the title they won comprehensively in 2015, while southern rivals Warilla – Barrack Point will fancy their chances.

But it isn’t just the competitors who are looking forward to the event.

Kempsey Shire Mayor Liz Campbell said it’s an exciting opportunity for the region to boast its credentials in the highly competitive “sport tourism market.”

“Both the Kempsey Shire Council and community welcomes the economic boost the Country Championships bring to our local economy, with the expected 1400 participants at this year’s carnival to inject around $3 million into the local area.” Cr Campbell said.

“I am confident that the 2016 Stramit NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships at South West Rocks will be an experience to remember for everyone, and I encourage all visitors from across NSW to make the most of their time in the Macleay Valley and all that we have to offer.”

Stramit’s Andrew McLean said the Championships will be a memorable event for Country lifesavers.

"Lifesavers play an integral role in the community, keeping our beaches safe while embodying many of the values that Stramit prides itself on. Safety, teamwork, courage and camaraderie are familiar ideals to those within the lifesaving community and something we all seek to embrace in our daily lives,” Mr McLean said.

The 2016 event will also herald in a number of changes to the format of the competition. It is now condensed into a two-day format as well as being held later in the summer to avoid peak-season with at least 1400 competitors and thousands more family, supporters and officials to flock to the town for the duration of the championships.

South West Rocks club president Rod McDonagh says his team are excited about hosting the event again and are still hard at work preparing.

"We are really fortunate to have a great bunch of committed volunteers who are vital to making this happen. It's a lot of work but we're almost there and looking forward to welcoming everyone to our little patch of paradise," said Rod McDonagh.

The Stramit NSW Country Championships is the only event on the surf sport calendar to feature a full range of events including surfboats, as well as all age groups from U8s through to Masters, within a two-day surf carnival.

It will be contested at South West Rocks on February 6-7.

Thu 14 Jan 2016