He was one of just two competitors from Burning Palms at the 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championship but for Isaac Chafei his experiences on the big stage only whetted his appetite for more.
While he has been involved in Nippers since he was six-years-old, competing on the biggest stage teenager had never previously competed at a State Championships before this year reasoning he wasn’t yet up to the standard to match it with his more seasoned opponents.
A sensational run of form in the early stages of summer quickly altered his plans. “I finished third at Branch in the Beach Flags which was my best ever result in a competition. I think something just clicked for me that day and after being involved for seven years and enjoying being a member of my club I wanted to see how I would go at a state level.
“I love the thrill of competition and to me I just couldn’t resist the challenge,” Isaac Chafei said.
Isaac entered the U14s at Blacksmiths Beach an acquitted himself well in what is traditionally one of the toughest age groups.
Flags are a notoriously challenging event – one misstep can determine a result and the repetitious nature of the contest means that superior fitness is mandatory.
It’s a skill that this talented youngster has in spades but his modesty meant he wasn’t sure how we go against those who had spent years honing their technique.
“I find Flags really thrilling, I really do it’s just a fun event to be part of. I love getting the chance to do all the training for it but we don’t have the numbers to have regular competition. I compete in Sprints as well but I’m not as strong in it.
Talking to the teenager it becomes apparent that he has a love of his club and a passion for Surf Life Saving and really enjoys belonging to one of the smallest clubs in NSW.
“I love the club as it’s such a great one to be part of. The bush track down to it is amazing and it’s always something special just getting there.”
It’s not just on the sand where Isaac Chafei wants to test himself as he has plenty of ambition to see how far he can go within the movement.
“My plan is to continue to work my way through all the qualifications that are available. There’s a whole range of skills and opportunities to learn.
“I really want to obtain my Bronze Medallion and stay involved in all aspects of Surf Life Saving,” he said.