It’s not quite a runaway but the pathway is partly laid for Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC’s title defence after a day where athletes of all ages competed for a slew of medals at the 2024 Oakberry Acai NSW Country Championships on the South Coast.

A big All Age double for Cudgen Headland SLSC to open proceedings – being the Board and Beach Relays incorporating competitors from U8-U14s – saw hopes soar from the outset that the Far North Coast club could potentially take a lead into the final day of competition, but Warilla continued to make the most of home ground advantage as the program played out.

It started on the beach, where the host club picked up a key win early in the U9 Mixed Beach Relay – Karsha Dunning, Sophie Manson, Nate Thomas and Sienna York showcasing the strength of Warilla’s junior squad. Meanwhile, Anthony White’s 60+ Male Single Ski win was evidence of the club’s efforts to be competitive across the board.

The two clubs shared results across the U17, U19 and Open Male and Female Ski Relays, but they weren’t the only ones to have some joy in the water.

Port Macquarie SLSC – traditionally a strong Masters club – relished Day Two of competition and picked up wins through the age groups, including the 50-59 Female Single Ski by Raelene Myers helping to catapult the club up the point score.

More than a club of senior athletes, Port Macquarie also picked up an impressive U14 Female Beach Flag win through Tilly Sinclair. She overcame Moruya SLSC’s Zara Hall who showed signs she could win it – still one of a number of strong results for Moruya, including a win in the 60+ Male Surf Race for Andrew Baker.

Byron Bay SLSC took its shot at the podium to the next level, moving up three places on the overall point score to sit just behind Yamba SLSC in the race for third place by the day’s end.

They did it on the back of performances like that shown by, inexplicably, the Byron Bay B Team of Karen Irwin and Matthew Yopp who beat out a Warilla team of Jordan White and Jason Foye as well as the club’s own A Team to win the 30+ Mixed Double Ski.

For its part, Yamba managed to pull together a second excellent day to remain in third place after two days; Joseph Dougherty won the 40-49 Male Surf Race while his son, Clarence won the U11 Iron and Board Race, while clubmates Ziggy O’Brien and Leo Dean finished first and second ahead of Clarence in the Surf Race, completing a Yamba podium.

Locally, Shellharbour SLSC’s Joanne Helson added to the club’s 9 gold medals with a win in the 60+ Female Board Race, and Gerringong SLSC’s Rose Davis and Kendall Payne were a close second to Amy Roberts and Indy Stewart of Lennox Head-Alstonville SLSC in the Junior Female Board Rescue.

Lennox Head is currently battling in 13th and hoping to climb significantly during the final day. The North Coast club finished 6th last year.

The 2024 Oakberry Acai NSW Country Championships finish tomorrow at Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC, with a finals package of major events including Board, Ski and Iron races to close out the competition on Sunday. Keep up to date with the live results here.

TOP 10 CLUB POINT SCORE – DAY TWO

Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC – 1,056

Cudgen Headland SLSC – 774

Yamba SLSC – 298

Byron Bay SLSC – 264

Woolgoolga SLSC – 228

Black Head SLSC – 222

Broulee Surfers SLSC – 222

Port Macquarie SLSC – 195

Mollymook SLSC – 190

Gerringong SLSC – 185

Saturday 27 January 2024