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NSW best and brightest up-and-comers have brought home a bagful of gold medals from the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships in Scarborough, Western Australia, shining a light on the tremendous future the state can look forward to with its stable of capable and competitive athletes.

Dominance in the U17 category underlined an impressive five days of racing for athletes from across the state, with Redhead SLSC, Newport SLSC and North Cronulla SLSC among the clubs dishing up some delightful showings.

Indeed, Lani Waller – a familiar name after great success at the NSW Championships just last month – led an all-star cast of Redhead athletes to gold in the U17 Female Board Relay and the U17 Female Taplin, before claiming individual success in the U17 Female Board Race.

She also managed a second-place finish in the U17 Female Iron ahead of Newport’s Olivia Clues in third and India Hulbert of Wanda finishing just off the podium.

On Newport, it was the Conner Maggs show in the U17 Male category – the teen, coming off his first year in the Nutri Grain Iron Person Series, was the first ever Aussies athlete to claim the Iron, Board, Ski, and Surf Race in his age category.

Alongside Anthony Doyle and Luke Chaffer, he also won the U17 Male Single Ski Relay and U17 Male Taplin and, with Zachary Paul now making a team of four, would also win the U17 Male Surf Teams event.

On the beach, North Cronulla flexed its muscles once again as young star Sari McKee led all comers in the long-distance runs – first the U17 Female 2km and then again with Bella Fleming in the U17 Female 2x1km.

In the flag pit, Lucy Flanagan backed up from a dominant showing at state level to win Aussies gold in the U19 Female Beach Flags.

Lucy would then only be able to settle for second, however, in the Open Female Beach Relay – the team of the U19 sprint star and the Rampoldi sisters, Alex, Emily and Leah, coming up just short in the defence of their 2022 title.

Avoca Beach SLSC, too, would finish with a string of strong results that highlighted just how far true home-grown talent can take you. First, Natalia Drobot picked up individual gold in the U19 Single Ski before teaming up with Bronte Ayres and Mia Cracknell to win the U19 Female Taplin, one of the final events of the Championships.

Natalia would also team up with Ella Beere to upset Newport hopefuls, Jemma Smith and Sascha Taurins in the Open Female Double Ski final.

Elsewhere, Ashton Neall beat out clubmate Kai Anderson in the U19 Male Beach Flags to earn a one-two for Mollymook SLSC, the pair also grabbing team gold in the U19 Male Beach Relay. Coogee SLSC showed its strength in the Relay format, too, with wins in the U19 Female and U19 Mixed.

Mollymook’s Open Flags star, Sam Zustovich couldn’t replicate his 2022 win, however the gold medal would remain in NSW thanks to Newport’s Blake Drysdale.

Newport would end up finishing second on the overall club points tally behind Northcliffe SLSC.

Monday 3 April 2023

Open Womens Board Rescue Winner Avoca 3 (1)
Open Mens Flags Winner Newport 3
U17 Womens Taplin Winner Redhead 3
U19 Womens Flags Winner North Cronulla 1