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As Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC looks to take the final step in over-throwing Cudgen Headland SLSC as Oakberry Acai NSW Country Championships winners, Nutri-Grain Iron series legend, Ali Day will be passionately cheering them past the post.

One of the club’s most successful former competitors, and certainly one of its most decorated, Day has forged a remarkable and esteemed surf sports career from humble beginnings on the state’s South Coast, laying the foundation for his success in Windang Bay on his way to conquering the elite circuit.

While the memories of seven Coolangatta Gold and four Ironman titles – and counting – are fresh in the memory, it’s those he forged as a young boy in Warilla that are the fondest.

“It was the best, it was literally some of the best times in my life,” he said.

“I had Marty Smith as a coach, his son David was an Olympian, and he was like a hero to many of us.

“We came through a time where there were kids above me and kids below me who were quite good competitors. It was fun and we worked hard, it brings back so many good memories.

“I wish I could go back to those times.”

As his former club prepares for another Oakberry Acai NSW Country Championships, contested for the second year at Cape Hawke SLSC on the Lower North Coast from 27-29 January, he reflects fondly on the experience as a whole in shaping who he is today.

“There’s no one moment that sticks out, you know, it’s the Board relays and Cameron relays I did with guys who are still my closest mates now, it’s going to different beaches, travelling with your friends, dinners with your team,” he said.

“As I got older it was racing but as a kid it was the biggest thing ever. You just wanted to do so well at it.

“Country Champs is a great platform to set the rest of your year up, it holds a really special place in my heart.”

Having come within five points of ending six years and four titles-worth of Cudgen Headland dominance in 2022, Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC comes in to the 2023 Championships hungrier than ever before.

Day says he’ll be keeping up with the event and is confident that a changing of the guard is coming.

“I know they’d love to knock off Cudgen, both have always been strong clubs, particularly with Warilla it has gone in waves, I came through a great era and it’s in another great era now,” he said.

The Oakberry Acai Country Surf Life Saving Championships will be hosted at Cape Hawke SLSC on the Lower North Coast, from 27-29 January 2023.

The Championships attracts around 1500 competitors from surf clubs outside the metropolitan areas of NSW.

For event information go to

Wednesday 25 January 2023