Familiar battles and some unexpected results highlighted a gripping first day of action at the 2023 Oakberry Acai NSW Country Championships at Cape Hawke, Foster on Friday.

Thunderstorms threatened to delay proceedings as competitors woke up on the Lower North Coast to a series of loud cracks of lightning, but the sun would soon after break through, allowing the day to run smoothly.

The Oakberry Acai NSW Country Championships is the largest surf sports event in the state outside of the NSW Championships, attracting more than 1,400 competitors, 200 officials and 4,000 spectators.

Having come within five points of dethroning Cudgen Headland SLSC as champions last year, Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC entered the event with a point to prove and an increase in competitor numbers to assist in taking the final step.

For their part, Cudgen will head into day two with a healthy lead over their southern counterparts, as the Far North Coast club looks to make it five straight titles, and two straight at One Mile Beach.

Finishing the day on 409 points, Cudgen was carried by 29 first place finishes across the events – The All-Age and U15 Board Relay teams, Issy Arghyros in the U13 Female Surf Race, her sister, Claudia in the U15 Female Board, and Vada Wessel in the U8 Female Wade Race among those who brought home gold for the club.

The lead sits at exactly 110 points back to Warilla, who called on strong results in the Surf Race (U15 Male – Lucas Krstevski, U9 Male – Oscar Creighton, U14 Male – Maddix Burke) and Karsha Dunning in the U8 Male Beach Flags on their way to 299 points. Jordan White in the Open Female Beach Flags also picked up a valuable gold medal to add to the tally.

Hitting the sand and surf for the first time in competition, many in the U8 category left the beach with something to cheer about. Sierra Jey Gore of Cabarita Beach SLSC picked up one of only two gold medals for the Far North Coast club, while young Teo Eggeling brought Woolgoolga SLSC success in the U8 Male Wade.

While most of the South Coast success came from Warilla, Mollymook’s Everly Morgan picked up a deserved win in the U9 Female Board Race, while Riley Woods and Lucas Quinn of Kiama Downs picked up wins in the U9 and U10 Male Board Race, respectively.

Darren Drewsen of Broulee Surfers also managed to defend his Open Male Beach Flags title from 2022 in spectacular fashion.

Representing the Lower North Coast clubs with distinction, Tully Kippax grabbed a gold in the U10 Female Board race.

The 2022 Oakberry Acai Country Championships continues over the weekend at Cape Hawke’s One Mile Beach, with the Masters and Opens competition starting first up Saturday.

For full results from the first day, click here.

Friday 27 January 2023