Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club have retained their title at the 2019 NSW Masters Surf Life Saving Championships at Swansea Belmont.
Two and a half days of competition put the club well ahead of closest rivals Redhead SLSC, with Manly LSC in third, up from sixth place in 2018.
While they move a little slower than their junior and Open counterparts, the veterans of surf sport hit the water and the sand in style, competing in Ironperson, Ski, Board, Swim and Surf Boats, along with Beach Sprints, Flags and Relays.
Thursday was a great day for one of the oldest competitors at this year’s event, Doug Ferris celebrating his 77th birthday by racing in the Board, Board Relay and Surf Race with clubmates from Palm Beach SLSC.
“I first started competing for Palm Beach in 1959, so 60 years exactly today. I keep getting reminded because it’s my birthday,” he laughed.
“It’s just fantastic to be here and competing. We have a great team. I love the camaraderie and all the team. There are great guys and girls in the club. Just seeing all my friends and competing with them. You just can’t get much better than this.”
The super fit Ferris says it’s important to stay active.
“I swim every morning, try to surf with my children and just get out in the water whenever I can. I’m retired so I’ve got all the time in the world.”
Bondi’s tilt at the title this year was given a boost by the addition of former Sydney Swans star Kurt Tippett, competing at his first State Titles in style by taking out the 30-34 Yrs Surf Race.
Growing up in Queensland, Tippett was a youngster at Nth Burleigh and is loving getting back into the sport, renewing his lifesaving skills and spending time patrolling the beach.
“I did a lot of sports but didn’t have the time to focus on Surf Life Saving. I started playing footy but since finishing with the Swans it’s been an opportunity to jump back in the water. I’m very grateful to Bondi for welcoming me. I’ve loved getting back into the water,” he said.
In other Bondi results, Maddi Blomberg won the 30-34 Yrs 2km Beach Run, Jan McCloskey 70+ Beach Sprint, Mark Norris, Fiona Nay and Juliann Desjardins won their Board Races and Louise Santos, Laura Thurtell and Noelene Young won the 150 Yrs Board Relay. The Bondi ladies teamed up to win the 130, 150 and the 170 Yrs Taplin Relays and Mark Norris, Laura Thurtell and Juliann Desjardins all won the Ironperson in their age divisions.
Redhead SLSC used local knowledge to their advantage, the depth of the club’s competitors in many divisions shining through.
Matt Kent and Pete Scott were ever-present in the 40-44 Yrs divisions, winning gold in the Board Rescue, while the club’s ski paddlers performed strongly, with wins for Ray Terrill and Marilyn Clarence in the individual events along with a number of the Double-Ski and Ski Relay races going Redhead’s way.
Manly LSC’s third place was well-deserved, with Stewart McLachlan performing well as usual to win the 30-34 Yrs Male Board. Melinda Pelly won the 40-44 Yrs Ironwoman, and Anthony Vieceli took out both the 55-59 Yrs Ironman and Ski races.
Masters Surf Boat events were run on Friday, with strong winds and choppy conditions making it hard work for the crews.
Victorious in the tough conditions in the Mens division included Woolgoolga in the 140+ Yrs, Mona Vale in the 160+ Yrs, Kempsey Crescent Head in the 180+ Yrs and Nth Cronulla in the 200+ Yrs.
In the Female divisions it was Batemans Bay, super strong as always in the 180+, and Warriewood in the 200s.
The NSW Masters Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club featured almost 1000 competitors aged 30 to over 80 years, coming together in the true spirit of the sport, renewing old friendships and going for glory for another year.
Top 20 Overall
- Bondi Surf Bathers LSC 433
- Redhead SLSC 244
- Manly LSC 212
- Coogee SLSC 204
- North Bondi SLSC 198
- Mona Vale SLSC 172
- Queenscliff SLSC 170
- Wanda SLSC 156
- Umina SLSC 130
- North Avoca SLSC 130
- Swansea Belmont SLSC 129
- Thirroul SLSC 101
- Palm Beach SLSC 95
- Stockton SLSC 93
- Terrigal SLSC 90
- Newport SLSC 80
- Avalon Beach SLSC 79
- Shellharbour SLSC 73
- Cronulla SLSC 71
- Freshwater SLSC 71
- South Maroubra SLSC 71
- The Lakes SLSC 68
- MacMasters Beach SLSC 64
Friday 8 March 2019