It was a long trip well worth it for the Far South Coast competitors who travelled to Kingscliff, over 1200 kms from the fire grounds for the 2020 Envirobank NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships. There were just 10 of them but they took home some of the most prestigious medals on offer.
Thirty-four clubs and over 1300 surf lifesavers attended the two-day Envirobank NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships where two Far South Coast clubs took out both the male and female Open Flags titles with a young but strong team.
Elli Beecham from Narooma SLSC has won Country Champs Beach Flags title for three years running now. At just 15 years old, she’s one of the fastest and most nimble soft-sand sprinters in the state. On the weekend she continued to impress, taking out both the Open and Under 17 Female Flags and coming third in the Under 17 Beach Sprint.
She wasn’t confident leading into the event with the heavy smoke from bush fires severely affecting her training and preparation but was beaming after her first win.
“The fires down at home have meant I haven’t been outside that much and I’ve been sick for the last week, but am so happy to be here,” said Elli. “We didn’t get a holiday over Christmas with everything going on so it’s really nice to come up here for a holiday.
“I love Country Champs because it’s a chance to have competition without the big city clubs and it’s so much fun. It’s hard to be the only one from the club here but I put my head down and work hard for the club,” she said.
It’s a big trip for Elli and her family to make, but she continues to make the annual pilgrimage to Country Champs.
“It feels pretty good because I won the Under 14s and 15s and now the Under 17s and Opens in the Flags so that’s three years in a row I’ve come here and won.”
Elli will take the momentum she’s gained at Country Championships into the State Championships at Swansea Belmont in March.
Darren Drewsen from Broulee Surfers SLSC was successful in defending his Open Flags title and added to his medal tally by taking out gold in the 40-49 Flags and the Beach Sprint.
This year Darren said everything was a little harder with only a week without smoky conditions due to the fires but it was great to be up at Kingscliff for a break. “It’s so good to be up here after the Christmas we’ve had. We have a great young squad and they love that they get to travel to compete.”
The young gun Broulee team returned home with a bag of medals. Lara Elliot 3rd U11 Surf Race, 4th Ironwoman, and Rosie McPartland 4th in U11 Surf Race, 5th Ironwoman, Tarren Elliot 5th U13 Surf Race, and Sky Waldin went in every event they could. On the sand Luke Drewsen got 2nd in U11 Flags and Sprint and a 3rd 1km Beach Run and Erin Drewsen 3rd in U13 1km Run while Amelia Tyrrell silver U13 Flags.
“It’s just a great family event,” said Drewsen. “The kids are pretty happy with how they went this weekend and for the opportunity to represent our club. This is such a good healthy sport, everyone on the coast should be involved.”
Far South Coast President Tony Rettke expressed how proud he was of his members’ achievements. “For Elli at Narooma and the Broulee team to come home with the results they have, it’s just really nice to have some good news down here. We’re truly delighted to celebrate the effort they went to to make the trip and to have their skills in the water and on the beach rewarded.”
Surf Life Saving CEO Steve Pearce was part of the jetski water safety patrol at the event on the weekend. After finishing his shift he was told of the success of the Far South Coast members. “I’ve just come in and been told that both Narooma and Broulee have won titles,” said Pearce.
“Our members on the Far South Coast have been absolutely smashed by bushfires in the last month. For them to even be here is a big commitment and to make it up here despite what they’ve all been through is huge. Now they will return with this exciting news and it will be really good for their families and their clubs.”
The 2020 Envirobank NSW Country Championships was won by Cudgen Headland SLSC for the fourth consecutive year. Broulee Surfers SLSC took out 20th position tied with Mollymook SLSC on 54 points while Elli Beecham’s results alone put Narooma SLSC in 27th place.
2020 Envirobank NSW Country Championships - Overall Rank and Points
- Cudgen Headland SLSC 1037
- Warilla Barrack Point SLSC 826
- Byron Bay SLSC 456
- Lennox Head -Alstonville SLSC 433
- Sawtell SLSC 336
- Port Macquarie SLSC 284
- Tacking Point SLSC 222
- Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore SLSC 212
- Yamba SLSC 183
- Coffs Harbour SLSC 153
- Cabarita Beach SLSC 144
- Brunswick SLSC143
- Woolgoolga SLSC 118
- Cape Hawke SLSC 87
- Black Head SLSC 81
- Gerringong SLSC 79
- Minnie Water-Wooli SLSC 78
- Kiama SLSC 77
- Urunga SLSC 65
- Broulee Surfers SLSC 54
- Mollymook Surf Life Saving Club 54
- Kiama Downs SLSC 49
- Nowra-Culburra SLSC 35
- South West Rocks SLSC 31
- Wauchope Bonny Hills SLSC 30
- Evans Head-Casino SLSC 27
- Salt SLSC 23
- Forster SLSC 23
- Narooma SLSC 16
- Macksville-Scotts Head SLSC 9
- Shellharbour SLSC 7
- Kempsey-Crescent Head SLSC 2
- Red Rock Corindi SLSC 0
- Tathra SLSC 0