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It’s almost judgement day for the 1000 competitors from across NSW who have made the trek to Blacksmiths Beach for the 2018 Masters Surf Life Saving Championships which get underway from Wednesday.

All 11 NSW branches will be represented throughout the three-day-competition with lifesavers from 80 clubs listed on the start list.

Catering for competitors aged from 30 to over 70 in a full program of events, the State Championships are always eagerly awaited as the Masters renew both battles and friendships that in some cases stretch back decades.

With bragging rights and glory on the line it’s shaping up to once again be a close competition.

Last season just 13 points separated the places on podium in the overall standings with only a solitary point separating eventual champions North Bondi over Queenscliff with Bondi Surf Bathers coming in third.

The Masters Championships are always special as they have developed something of a family feel over the years with many of the competitors on hand to watch their children compete at last weekend’s Age Championships before having their own opportunity to take to the waves or sand.

Equally compelling viewing is the 30-34 and 35-39 age groups where a few of these athletes will be using this competition as a tune up for a tilt at the Opens this weekend; and undoubtedly some will be standing on the podium in both competitions.

There are a number of competitors who will be out to defend their titles in many events, and whether they can continue this form will be one of the week’s best subplots.

Davina Strauss (Coledale), Ross Langbein (North Bondi), and Marty Lynch (Newport) have recorded impressive results on the sand over recent seasons, while hometown hopeful Angela Leadbeatter (Swansea Belmont) has compiled one of the most impressive resumes of any athlete with complete dominance at all levels in the 2KM Beach Run.

In the water Paul Lemmon (Terrigal) and Dori Miller (Bondi) have been almost impossible to dislodge from the podium over the years.

Chad Poland (Nowra-Culburra) continues to win medals at an open level like they’re going out of fashion, while Mei-Ling Venning (Toowoon Bay) will be hoping to repeat her triple gold-medal winning efforts of 2017 when she lines up in the 70+ events.

On Friday morning the competition winds down for another season with the surf boat competition taking place, and there is sure to be plenty of action on the water.

“We’re looking forward to what promises to be another successful competition,” said NSW Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon.

“I’d like to wish all the Masters competitors the very best of luck and I’m sure the event will be conducted in the best of spirits. The competitors have a lifelong passion for lifesaving and surf sport, and that’s always wonderful to see.”

The 2018 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club continues this Wednesday 7 March at Blacksmiths Beach, Swansea Belmont.


Tuesday 6 March 2018