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Dan ‘The Man’ Collins became the first Newcastle Ironman, and just the fourth New South Welshman in the last 20 years, to win the coveted Aussies Open title at the weekend as the state’s elite surf sport athletes starred across five days of intense competition on the Sunshine Coast.

Following in the footsteps of Nathan Smith in 2005, Kendrick Louis in 2018 and Max Brooks in 2019, the Redhead SLSC star put together a near-seamless race, including a dynamite board leg that ultimately positioned him to take out the title in his stronger swim leg – the last of the race.

Former champion, Kendrick Louis of Manly LSC and Charlie Verco of Newport SLSC rounded out the NSW-only podium, while Jackson Borg finished in fourth.

Collins’ win rounded out a banner day not just for the Redhead club, but the Hunter region more broadly. Half of the Iron finals finished with a Novocastrian atop the dais – Alex Walker from Cooks Hill SLSC coming home strongest after a party wave brought five potential U17 Male champions into shore, while Kaitlyn Rees of Swansea Belmont SLSC won the U17 Female category.

Rees was also successful in taking out the U17 Female Board, while on the sand her clubmates, Luana Da Rocha, Phoebe Doran, Kaylee Dowsett, and Emerson Leadbeatter bagged gold in the U19 Female Beach Relay.

Still on Redhead, Lani Waller grabbed three gold medals across the U19 category, winning the Swim and the Board race after teaming with clubmate, Charli Burns to win the Board Rescue.

Further south, Central Coast clubs also achieved some amazing results, highlighted by a seen-to-be-believed finish in the U19 Female Double Ski that saw Avoca Beach SLSC’s Davara Marshall and Natalia Drobot come from the clouds to pip a Southport SLSC duo that was probably certain they were about to be crowned Australian champions.

Drobot would later back up that win in the U19 Single Ski with another gold medal, while neighbouring club, Terrigal SLSC would see Olivia Edwards, Zahra Green, and Sienna Sinclair team up to win the U17 Female Ski Relay.

Meanwhile, in the Surf Race, Jacob Falconer from Ocean Beach SLSC finished first in a very strong U17 Male age group.

NSW’s excellent water performances didn’t stop there – Cudgen Headland SLSC’s Niamh Sharpe and Issy Tate, and Wanda SLSC’s Otis Jessop and Dane Sutton ensured a clean sweep of the U17 Board Rescue, and Conner Maggs won another U19 Male Board gold.

North Curl Curl SLSC saw success in the U17 Male Surf Teams with Sam Davis, Samuel Higgs, Luke Higgs, and Braith Howison, and Maguire Reid jagged two gold for Newport – one in the U19 Male Ski and one with Bailey Clues in the U19 Male Double Ski. Bailey’s sister, Olivia would also win the U17 Female Ski and was part of the Newport team that won the U17 and U19 Surf Teams.

On the sand, Kobe Sorenson from North Cronulla SLSC was too strong in the U17 Male Flags, while Michael Hanna won the Open Male Sprint for Elouera SLSC.

It was South Maroubra SLSC’s Luke Newrick, however, who was arguably the best track star for the state – he picked up gold in the U17 Male Sprint ahead of Sorenson before joining the Sydney club’s relay teams to win the U17 Male, U17 Mixed and U19 Mixed Beach relays.

Wanda, Coogee SLSC, Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC and North Bondi SLSC all had wins across various 2x1km Beach Relay categories, and between Wanda and Freshwater SLSC, NSW cleaned up the Open R&R categories.

The Collaroy Ladies and the Bears also went one/two in the Open Mixed March Past competition.


Tuesday 23 April 2024

CudgenHeadland_U17BoardRescueWinners_NiamhSharpe_IzzyTate_Photo 20-4-2024, 3 32 24 PM
SwanseaBelmont_KaitlinRees_Photo 20-4-2024, 7 51 37 AM
Redhead_U19BoardRescueWinners_CharlieBurns_LaniWaller_Photo 20-4-2024, 3 09 58 PM
Avoca_DavaraMarshall_NatalieDrobot_Photo 19-4-2024, 10 27 10 AM