Despite a solid challenge from south coast club Warilla-Barrack Point, reigning champions Cudgen Headland SLSC have emerged victorious at the 2022 Oakberry Acai NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships at Cape Hawke, Forster.
After a huge three days on the sand and in the water under spectacular skies at One Mile Beach, the state’s northern-most surf club, Cudgen Headland, retained the title by just five points over South Coast club Warilla-Barrack Point. The smaller Warilla contingent came agonisingly close to knocking the champions off the top podium position, with the team competing throughout the weekend with passion and athletes backing up in race after race.
Third place in the pointscore went to a very excited team from Port Macquarie SLSC, pushing Lennox-Head out into fourth spot.
The final result came down to the wire on day three, with the Taplin team relays deciding the eventual outcome and clubs fighting it out knowing that every point counted.
The final day began with the 1km and 2km Beach Run, with Warilla’s Nicole Sims and Griffin Spicknall both claiming gold in the Open division. Mollymook runners were too strong in the U17 Female 2km, with first three across the line – Olivia Greenhalgh, Sienna Flynn and Karla Jones. Sawtell SLSC had wins in the U17 division (Rhys Mulholland) and U12s (Saul Easman).
The ceremonial March Past was next in the program, with points awarded for timing and accuracy. Cabarita SLSC’s precision won them both the Junior and Open March Past titles.
Back on the beach track, the remaining finals of the sprint races saw Cudgen pick up valuable points including golds to Eliza Fahy (U14 Beach Sprint), Deacon Streader (U15 Beach Sprint), Molly Eddy (U15 Beach Sprint) and the U15 Mixed Beach Relay team.
The final events of the day, the Taplin Relays was where Warilla came within single-digit points of the lead, with wins in the U17 and U19 Female races, the Open Male Taplin and the coveted Open Mixed 6-person Taplin, the final event of the carnival.
Cudgen’s Chloe Jones, ski paddler for the winning Open Female Taplin team, said the close racing with Warilla this year was great.
“There is a bit of club rivalry there, in the open girls it’s really hard because we’re really good friends with all the Warilla girls, we’ve raced them for heaps of years, but obviously when we’re on the line we want to win.”
Cudgen Headland SLSC team manager Adam Mills said he was proud of the whole team to retain the title after a hard year.
“This year we knew it was going to be pretty close. Warilla are strong in the Taplins so we knew it would be tough. For our guys it was all about the pointscore, backing up in race after race and getting into it.”
The top performing local Lower North Coast club Black Head SLSC continued its rise through the ranks to finish in 11th on the ladder, with medals to Ziggy Pickering (gold in U15 2km Beach Run), Miley Cox (bronze in U13 2km Beach Run), Ella and Ashleigh Pegrum (silver and bronze in the U12 Beach Run) and bronze to the U17 Male Taplin team (Joel Fleming, Jaime Wisemantel and Isaac Boag).
Forster SLSC’s Dylan Kinkade added to his Beach Flags gold with a first in the U14 Beach Sprint.
Cape Hawke president, Gary Curtis, says his team has been fantastic and they are looking forward to welcoming everyone again next year.
“We’ve been really happy with the weekend, the weather and conditions have been favourable and we’ve had a lot of support from the team to make it happen. I think One Mile has turned out to be a great showcase for the event. We have a strong volunteer team, it’s quite a big job, we’re fortunate we have great depth in our volunteer team,” said Curtis.
Sunday 30 January 2022