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It was all smiles for the 45 competitors from 10 surf clubs who hit Mona Vale Beach in mid-February for the third annual Sydney Northern Beaches Branch Inclusive Championships.

The perfect summer’s morning was filled with fun competition and serious finals between new and old friends, but throughout it all was laughter and high-fives.

Mona Vale SLSC is one of the NSW clubs leading the way with Inclusion programs that open up Surf Life Saving membership and events to people living with disability.

“The Branch Championships is an incredible way to showcase the skills and confidence everyone has developed on the beach and in the water over the season,” said Mona Vale’s Michael Wasley. “So many people want to be involved in running this event, it’s a real tribute to our club and it was reflected in the success of this year’s Championships.”

In a compact program, this year’s Championships included Beach Sprints, Beach Flags, Swim, Wade, Board and the always popular Bucket Relay Race.

Mona Vale Inclusion Coordinator Rob Fry said after the event, “To see the kids participating, there’s really nothing better. Now that these events are emerging all round the state, people can see what is achievable. They strive to do everything and are challenging themselves.”

The events are a unique and rewarding opportunity for the competitors to take ownership of their skills and show their siblings and family what they can achieve.

“This year’s event has been amazing. Many of the kids have been coming to events and watching their siblings for years,” said Michael Wasley. “They really look forward to showing everyone what they can do and what they’ve learnt and are stoked to be part of inter-club events.”

Currently 24 NSW clubs run Inclusive programs and the number is growing each year. (Avoca Beach SLSC, Bellambi SLSC, Blackhead SLSC, Bulli SLSC, Coledale SLSC, Collaroy SLSC, Coogee SLSC, Cooks Hill SLSC, Elouera SLSC, Fingal Beach SLSC, Maroubra SLSC, Mona Vale SLSC, Moruya SLSC, Newport SLSC, Ocean Beach SLSC, Nobbys Beach SLSC, North Steyne SLSC, Pambula SLSC, Redhead SLSC, South Curl Curl SLSC, Stockton Beach SLSC, Swansea Belmont SLSC, Toowoon Bay SLSC, Towradgi SLSC, Wanda SLSC, Windang SLSC and Woonona SLSC)

This year, as part of the State Championships, 16 competitors will represent 10 of those clubs in the new Inclusive program trial.

The division is open to any Surf Life Saving Nippers or members living with disability and will include Flags, Beach Sprint, Swim and Board. The fun begins on Sunday 3 March at 9am at Swansea Belmont SLSC.

With support from so many clubs and members, and the increased benefits of the programs to our communities, this is sure to be just the beginning of Inclusive Surf Life Saving events.


Tuesday 26 February 2019