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Far North Coast clubs Byron Bay SLSC and Cudgen Headland SLSC have put the top competitive clubs in the state on notice. Their teams and young squads are good, and they’re hungry for success.

Byron Bay SLSC kicked off the weekend with their coveted Open Mixed Ski teams continuing to put pressure on. The Byron Bay A team (Caitlin Callahan and Shaun Sewell) brought home a bronze medal behind Newport and Elouera, while the B team came fifth.

Thomas Hayden joined the crew for the southern road trip and took gold in the new B-Division Surf Race for 20-29 year olds.

On the sand it was Cabarita SLSC’s Cahrizma Macdonald-Cass who lit up the track with a silver medal in the Under 17 Flags and a bronze in the Beach Sprint. Cahrizma continues to build her strength and speed in the beach events and is one of the most promising athletes in the state.

For the state’s most northern club, Cudgen Headland SLSC showed their skills right across the board.

Team coach and Opens competitor Scott McCartney was stoked with the team’s results and energy this year, “State Champs was a huge success and had a really good vibe this year despite really tough, flat conditions.

“The young female competitors are coming up quick and they are letting everyone know how strong they are. We’re lucky to have a strong squad of young athletes coming up through the ranks, it’s pretty exciting to watch them develop and know they’ll be making waves in the Opens in a couple of years.”

Cudgen Headland’s Stirling Crawford showed the city clubs that he’s a force to be reckoned with as he makes his way up to Opens after a season dominating the Ocean 6 series. Crawford made finals for both the Under 15 Flags and Sprints, taking a bronze in Flags.

In one of the blue ribbon events of finals day, the Open Male Ironman, Cudgen Headland’s Luke Chaffer was in the thick of the competition between Newport and Manly. Chaffer started well and maintained a stronghold on the top runners until the finish line. He finished in fifth place.

The super-charged star of the future, Lily O’Sullivan lit up the surf for the sky-blues. “Lily cleaned up as always,” said McCartney. “She took silver in the Under 15 Ironwoman and bronze in the Surf and Board Race. She’s a great role model for the FNC clubs and the Branch.”

After the Ironwoman event Lily said, “everyone started off really hard but the pack caught up fast. I ran as fast as I could to the line but I just couldn’t catch Kimberley Doyle (winner, Newport SLSC), she’s just so fast.

“I always enjoy this weekend. All the girls in my division in NSW are really good friends and we love competing against each other. We have such a tight, supportive and fun team at Cudgen too so we always love coming away to represent out club, especially to see how we hold up against the best athletes in the state.”

The women also fought for glory in the team events. The Under 15 Board Rescue (Lily O’Sullivan, Olissa Onley) took a silver and in the Board relay Ginger Allen joined the pair to add a second silver to the haul. While the Under 19 Board Rescue team (Chloe Jones and Hayley Smith) brought a bronze home to the Far North Coast.

Onissa Onley additionally showed her endurance on the sand winning the 2km Beach Run in the Under 15s.

The Under 19 men’s Taplin team (Cody Bell, Bailey Copeland and Kai Onley) who took a year off in 2018 returned to the State Champs at Swansea Belmont proving they’re as fit and fast as ever. They finished closely in sixth behind the very best surf athletes in the state in a tight race to the end.

Finally, to round out the water events, the Cudgen Headland Open Male Taplin team finished in seventh place. The boys were thrilled with the result, especially the two Under 17s competitors who took on a stellar field of athletes and big city clubs.

Along with taking out the overall title at the 2019 Country Championships, Cudgen Headland SLSC was the best performing Far North Coast club at State Champs, finishing 15th in the pointscore.


Thursday 14 March 2019