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Local Hunter athletes have capped off the 2018 NSW Open Surf Life Saving Championships with an extremely successful weekend at Blacksmiths Beach.

Taking full advantage of their knowledge of the conditions at the popular beach and the familiarity of being in home waters were branch powerhouses Redhead SLSC (8th overall), hosts Swansea Belmont (12th), and Cooks Hill (16th).

Over the three-day-event, competitors finished with an impressive haul of 32 medals with one of the true highlights being Daniel Collins (Redhead) becoming the first Hunter athlete in almost two decades to win the Open Ironman race. He also placed second in the Surf Race and teamed up with Isak Costello to claim silver in the Board Rescue. The Mens Taplin team also came a creditable third behind Manly and Newport and in the Double Ski race, Redhead teams were second and third across the line.

He wasn’t alone in making history throughout the championship with a number of sensational performances confirming what many suspect; that the Hunter is on the brink of a new era in surf sport.

Other Redhead athletes who stood atop the podium included the U17 Ski Relay Team, the U17 Female Taplin Team, Ethan Whiteman (Over 24 Restricted Swim Race), and Lily Costello (U19 2km Beach Run). The Male Board Relay team of Isak Costello, Hayden Copping and Justin McMorland just missed out on gold in the Board Relay event.

Teenage sensation Nicola Owen cemented her reputation as a rising star, shrugging off the pressure to win individual gold in the U17 Ironwoman and Board Race as well as being a member of the Ski Relay and Taplin winning teams. She also backed up to get a sensational run in the Open Board race, coming in just behind the unbeatable Georgia Miller from Newport.

Hosts Swansea-Belmont had plenty to smile about thanks largely to their dominant performances in the water events, and a brilliant run by Angela Leadbeatter who backed up her win in the Masters less than 48 hours before to record another Open victory in the 2km Beach Run.

Her club mates who joined her as State Champions included Kyle Lehmann and Josh Murphy who teamed up to win the U17 Board Rescue and the Board Relay with Jack McGregor, Nicholas Stoddart and Saxon Coates took out the U15 Board Rescue with Stoddart adding individual gold in the Board Race, and the Male U15 Taplin, Board Relay and Cameron Relay teams walked away with gold.

Mason Snowden took silver (U17 Male Beach Run), Liam Hall-Muir went within inches of claming gold in the Open Beach Flags, while Sally Walters completed the individual efforts as she finished with bronze in the U19 Surf Race.

After helping Cooks Hill to their best ever junior results in recent seasons, the club’s very promising junior contingent continue to perform strongly as they test their skills in the senior ranks. 

Freya Konetschnik and Bella Williams combined to take home gold in the U15 Board Rescue, with Williams adding five more silver medals to her personal haul including in a highly competitive Ironwoman race.

Beach gun Fletcher Myers (U15s) showed his speed on the sand to finish with silver in the Beach Flags and bronze in the Sprint.

Not to be outdone when it comes to accumulating medals, Caves Beach SLSC finished the weekend as champions in the Open March Past, making it a clean sweep after they also won the Junior March Past event the weekend earlier. The club were also bronze medallists in the U23 Male Surf Boat, and an individual bronze was won in the U15 2km Beach Run thanks to the efforts of Benjamin Doran.

NSW Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon said it was a highly successful competition contested at Swansea Belmont for 2018.

“I would like to congratulate everyone for their efforts over the last three weekends of competition. We’ve seen some extremely close and exciting finishes and the weather and conditions have allowed us to showcase the very best of surf sports in NSW,” said Mr Pidgeon.

“The volunteer team from Swansea Belmont have hosted another fantastic event, with great support from Lake Macquarie City Council,” said Rob Pidgeon.

2018 Open Championship Club Point Score

  • Newport SLSC (553)

  • Manly LSC (247)

  • Wanda SLSC (221)

  • North Bondi SLSC (204)

  • North Cronulla SLSC (198)

  • Cronulla SLSC (196)

  • Umina SLSC (144)

  • Redhead SLSC (144)

  • Elouera SLSC (134)

  • Coogee SLSC (118)

The NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club will return to Blacksmiths Beach in 2019 for another exciting edition of the state’s largest surf sport event.


Thursday 15 March 2018