Australia’s most iconic beach location boasts two surf life saving clubs and both have taken their place on the podium at the 2018 NSW Masters Surf Life Saving Championships at Blacksmiths Beach.
Bondi Surf Bathers LSC, arguably Australia’s oldest surf life saving club, eclipsed its rivals this year to claim the top spot, finishing well ahead of second place getter and neighbouring club, North Bondi SLSC.
With only a handful of points still to be counted from the Masters surfboat event yet to be contested, Bondi safely celebrated their victory at Swansea Belmont SLSC after two days of all out competition.
For the first time in four years, a newcomer has broken into the top three which has been dominated by Bondi, Nth Bondi and Queenscliff who have taken it in turns to take the title. The team from Redhead SLSC managed to push Queenscliff out into fourth spot with some great performances in the water events, especially the skis.
But it was the distinctive navy blue and white caps that kept coming across the line for Bondi that made it almost impossible for other clubs to make their mark. Last year’s winner North Bondi mounted a mighty effort but even deep-seated rivalry wasn’t enough to retain the trophy.
Legend surf athlete and former Australian Champion Ironman Robert Chapman had a great return to racing, collecting gold in the 60-64 year Surf Race and Ironman and bronze in the 150 years Surf Team and Ski Relay with his new club mates.
In his first State Masters hitout with new club Bondi, ‘Chapo’ said that although he was a bit rusty at some of the finer points of ironman racing, he was really enjoying competing again. Chapman is coaching the younger competitors and is using his expertise in an effort to rebuild competition capacity at the club.
“It’s been a great couple of days. It’s good to be competing again, I’m loving the training and all I need now is a couple of new knees,” said the former Open Champion.
Other Bondi competitors on the podium included Dean Gladstone, Ryan Jenkin and Simon Nothling in the 35-39 years, Blake Francis, Calvin Brodie, Robert Harvey, Greg Brynes and William Hardman in the 40-49 years and Iain Macfarlane in the 35-39 Beach Sprint. Fiona Nay and Fiona Tschaut were gold and silver in the 35-39 Surf Race, Laura Thurtell and Kristie Krenkels were all over the 50-54 swim events and Leah Trebilcock and Emily Gillies went one two in the 30-34 Ironwoman and Single Ski and Emily also grabbed the Board Race gold medal for good measure.
Dori Miller successfully retained her long held title in the 45-49 Surf Race and also took out the Rescue Tube Race. Cyril Baldock and Jan McCloskey carried the can for the club in the 70+ events.
Notable performances for the North Bondi team included Andre Dalton in the 40-44 Ironman and Board, Scott Thompson in numerous individual and teams events in the 50-54, Greg Clifford in the 60-64 years events and Jim Walker won gold in the 45-49 years Ski and Double Ski.
Former Collaroy competitors helped spearhead the North Bondi effort, with Dean Scarff in his first Masters event for his new club taking gold in the 30-34 Beach Sprint and Flags and Ross Langbein doing the same in the 35-39 years.
Stand outs among the masters women included Eloise Starr in the 30-34 years and Jane Cichero in the 55-59 year events.
Thursday 8 March 2018