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Mollymook Surf Life Saving Club is leaving no stone unturned in its quest for success at the 2024 Oakberry Acai NSW Country Championships, and not even family is safe!

After nearly a decade bouncing between idyllic beaches north of the Hunter, one of Surf Life Saving NSW’s flagship surf sports event, second only to the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships in size, has returned to the South Coast, with Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC to host over the coming two years.

The last trip south was actually to Mollymook, where the black and white caps fought hard on their home beach across the three days of competition and ended just shy of the podium places.

Team Manager Tony Ireland remembers plenty of that weekend – he was the 30-39 Male Board Race Champion and placed among the medals in three other events.

Even last year, Tony teamed with his good mate David Tudor-Jones to win the Open Male Double Ski ahead of strong duos out of Cudgen Headland and Byron Bay. He has a track record of good results that were ready to be added to in 2024, until,,,,

“We won the Double Ski last time out, but I’ve failed to be selected this year,” he said.

“My son was quicker than me, even as one of the selectors I couldn’t pick myself.

“The results don’t lie!”

Indeed, Christian Ireland figures to be a breakout athlete for the Mollymook team this year – an elite kayaker highly thought of on the national circuit, alongside fellow U17 competitor, Eden Sakora. Their transition to the Single and Double Ski will be something to watch over the course of the Championships.

Also with the potential to feature strongly across the weekend is Lily Todd, who has gone from strength to strength in the Iron and Swim races in her U15 category.

While the squad is quite a drastic and diverse mix between Youth and Masters competitors, who will largely compete across the Open categories as well, Tony says they’ve been working hard and are focussed on being competitive and perhaps improving on an eighth place overall last time out.

“We’ve been getting the groups together for training and it’s been beneficial on a number of levels,” Tony said.

“The older guys are a nice influence, and the younger ones just bring a great energy.

“I think it’d be great to be up there again in the point score, but I just want to see really good racing from our club in the right spirit, we have a lot of kids who have trained really hard and are ready to go and I’d love to see them go out there and put together an excellent race, no matter the result.”

Wednesday 24 January 2024