With the 2019 Surf Life Saving NSW Championships just around the corner, we are taking the opportunity to profile some of those athletes and officials looking to make an impact when competition gets underway at Blacksmiths Beach.
Meet Daniel Collins, Readhead SLSC
How long have you been involved with Surf Life Saving and why did you join Redhead?
I started when I was three-years-old. I would tag along with my older sisters’ age group. My mum let me follow them and all I wanted was to be doing what they were doing and the three of us were just always trying to outdo each other.
I remember hanging out on the beach with them having wade relays and races. It definitely contributed to me becoming competitive in surf sports.
When I was six was straight into under 6s into my own age group.
What is it about the water events, team events and surf sports that you love?
I love when the surf is up. That’s what the sport is all about and that’s when it’s most satisfying to complete and win a race.
Being able to get out in messy, inconsistent waves and testing yourself in conditions that you can’t predict.
I love being out in the elements and being challenged in big surf. Surfing, swimming and being in the water, it’s where I love to be.
How have your preparations for State Champs been going?
I’ve had an interesting preparation this year. My sister Jess suffered a spinal cord injury over winter so I had a small backwards step with training after shifting my priorities. I’m staying fit and keeping my hand in and working on the skills I know I need to meet the best in the state on the start line.
What makes Swansea a good racing beach in your opinion?
It is protected from the south swell so we won’t be called off on a big south swell. The sand bank is solid and it allows the beach to manage swell well. You can have a shore break and then potentially a second break near the cans which can make for a great water course.
When you’re a competitor you don’t want it dead flat and Swansea always provides fun conditions with a small to moderate wave to keep the field spread.
It’s always a good idea to get there a couple of days ahead of the event. I remember even as a Nipper we’d get there on the Wednesday to assess the conditions before the event. Knowing when the high tide and low tide will fall and how the tides will work with the conditions help you set the course in your head. It’s always an advantage knowing the beach before race day.
What do you most enjoy about State Championships and what has been your favourite memory?
It’s hard to pick one. I love racing in the Open Taplin Relay with five other guys who put in so much time and effort towards competition.
Last year I had a great result in the Ironman. It had always been my goal to win an Open State Title but to win the Open Ironman against the guys I’ve been looking up to for a lot of my life was incredible.
Best of all though, I think coming up through the club as a kid, making friends and building a community around you is something really special. It’s one of the greatest things I’ve got out of it all.
What does it mean to be able to represent your club?
A lot of people put in so much time and effort for us to be able to compete. There’s so much encouragement from family, coaches and mentors and it’s so rewarding to be able to show them that their support is worthwhile.
Friday 22 February 2019