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The future of NSW surf sports is bright with our best up-and-coming athletes and the state’s most established competitors taking out the Interstate Ocean Championships for the fifth straight year.

Led by a dominant and at times incredibly comfortable showing on the beach, where NSW athletes picked up the vast majority of wins on offer in the Beach Flags, Sprints and Relays, the Blues came out on top in the Pathways, Youth, Open and Overall point scores – a clean sweep of the day.

It was 30 gold, 20 silver and 13 bronze medals earned across the day by NSW competitors at Maroubra Beach, which put on a veritable four seasons in one day with overcast and muggy conditions in the morning giving way to rain and then later clearing up for a hot and sunny afternoon.

The weather may well have been taken as a metaphor for NSW’s day, too, where a slow start in the Surf races that opened the day did little to hamper the team’s chances of victory.

“Things didn’t go our way for the first four or five events, but there was no panic, we just said we’d keep chipping away,” Team Manager, Greg Pierce said.

“The Beach Sprinters came good for us, we were very good in the Ski, the Iron and the Board, and our Open competitors were very, very good for us.

“The team came together well and we’re proud.”

Among the best results on the day were wins in all bar two of the Beach Flags events, culminating in a comprehensive Opens category clean sweep by Alex Rampoldi and Sam Zustovich, and Flags/Sprint doubles for U14 Pathways athlete Marli Mayne and U15, Chris Kondilios – both locals of the host clubs neighbours, South Maroubra SLSC.

After a year off from Surf Life Saving, it was an excellent result from Marli who will continue to go from strength to strength ahead of State Championships in March.

In the water, a wild finish to the Pathways Male Iron race saw Maddix Burke from Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC catch two Queensland competitors in the shore break and get the better of his dismount to close out a win, while Noah Steiner of Wanda SLSC and Annalise Kibble of Newport SLSC picked up Open Iron wins.

Team Captain, Jemma Smith, just days after her 25th birthday, overcame a slow start to storm home in the Open Ski Race, while Swansea Belmont SLSC’s Kaitlin Rees completed a NSW one-two with Newport’s Pipi Te Pania in the Youth Female Board race.

“It was pretty much the perfect race for me,” Kaitlin said.

“I was able to get out clean which meant I had my own water and just raced my way.

“I’m so grateful to the community at Swansea Belmont, I wouldn’t be here without them, and it’s a great group here today as well, it’s been good to learn from the older athletes with all their experience.”

SLSNSW President, Peter Agnew ESM said he was proud of the team’s performance.

“On behalf of SLSNSW I would like to extend my congratulations to the NSW Interstate team on successfully defending their title for a fifth time at Maroubra this year,” he said.

“Our Pathways, Youth and Open athletes wore the sky-blue cap with pride and competed with maturity, and it all translated to success in the ocean and on the sand.”

SLSNSW Director and Chair of Surf Sports, Don van Keimpema echoed Peter’s comments.

“It’s another great result for NSW and I’d like to thank the Team Management as well as the athletes and officials for their hard work, dedication and commitment,” he said.

Friday 12 January 2024