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A small but committed team of Nipper competitors from clubs across the South Coast made the long journey to the 2017 Surf Life Saving NSW Age Championships at Lake Macquarie last weekend where they all performed strongly on surf sport’s biggest stage.

While people who hail from Newcastle in the UK are universally known as Geordie’s it was on Blacksmiths Beach where Bateman’s Bay teenager Geordie Kemp announced his arrival as a serious force on the sand.

Full of confidence after winning Flags at the Country Championships in South West Rocks last month the challenge of taking on the state’s best was one that he was very much looking forward to.

In driving wind he powered across the sand to take gold in the U14 Beach Flags ahead of Fletcher Meyers from Cooks Hill.

“It just feels fantastic to get my first ever state medal especially in such a tough competition which anyone could have won. I really wanted to show what a small town athlete can do – we have less than 60 at our club so to be on the big stage is really good.” said Geordie Kemp.

Kemp then backed up on the Sunday to win his second medal of the championships when he took bronze in the U14 Beach Sprint Final.

Competing in her final event as a Nipper Holly Abbey (Nowra-Culburra) added to her impressive medal collection by taking out silver in the U14 Female Beach Sprint. In what was the tightest finish of the competition April Druery (Elouera) just pipped her on the line.

There were other encouraging signs for the southern competitors with two more finalists in their ranks.

Eilish Norwood (Mollymook SLSC) finished just outside the medals in the U14 Female Beach Sprint Final, while Pambula’s Archer Whitby showed that he had speed to burn when he finished 5th in the U11 Beach Sprint.

NSW Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon felt that despite the challenges of the weather and the conditions it was a highly successful competition for the young athletes.

“I would like to congratulate everyone for what was an extremely successful State Age Championships. It was certainly played in the right spirit, and all the Nippers, their families, and their clubs can look back with pride on what has been a fantastic surf sport season.

“Some of our older Nipper competitors will now go on to their first taste of national level racing at next month’s Australian Championships while our younger ones can look forward to an exciting finish with their club season,” Mr Pidgeon said.

2017 Age Championship Club Point Score:

• Manly LSC 349

• Wanda SLSC 201

• Elouera SLSC 194

• Cooks Hill SLSC 192

• Swansea Belmont SLSC 135

• North Curl Curl SLSC 107

• North Bondi SLSC 94

• Coogee SLSC 94

• Cronulla SLSC 90

• South Maroubra SLSC 89


Wednesday 8 March 2017