The 2022 National Short Course Surf Boat Championships were held at Queenscliff at the start of December with mixed divisions put to the test for the first time. NSW crews took out 10 of the 12 events and saw two teams selected to represent Australia as a result.

The event, held in challenging but spectacular 4-6 foot surf, showcased the incredible surf sport and the strength of the specialist athletes who also competed in the Surf Life Saving Australia national team selections on Friday.

The short course event, first run in 2019 at the Australian Championships on the Gold Coast, had its time to shine. It was just the third time it’s been held with the half-course also opened to Reserve, Under 23 and Under 19 divisions this year.

The event differs from the traditional Surf Boat racing format whereby the crews race out and around a turning can and return to the beach with a distance of just 400m – half the distance of the traditional course – and takes the top crews around four minutes to complete.

In addition to the Short Course Championships, an exciting new mixed division was added to the lineup. For the first time, mixed crews were able to compete whereby two men and two women (and a sweep) could combine. Four divisions were contested – Open, Reserve, Under 23 and Under 19.

Australian Surf Boat Rowers League (ASRL) President, Nick Sampson said the league was working on outside-the-box ideas to progress the sport and increase participation.

“We’ve been working really hard on how to make the sport and competition more accessible to all clubs, especially the smaller ones. Adding the mixed divisions to the short course event was a success,” he said.

“We saw clubs enter who didn’t have enough men or women to field a full crew in the traditional divisions and that was the goal. Overall there was positive feedback from everyone, and the foreshore was packed with people watching.”

The sentiment was echoed by veteran Palm Beach sweep, Peter Spence.

“Personally, I see real potential in the mixed events. There are so many popping up now with various other sports so it’s really good to see how it can benefit our sport. It was a really enjoyable race,” he said.

Spence said the three days of racing was a great success and praised the ASRL and competition referee, Greg Heard.

“The team did a great job at running the event over the three days. They ran it to the conditions and it was a lot of fun,” he said.

“Anyone that raced, even if they didn’t make finals, had a smile on their face being able to be part of it.”

On the conditions he said, “it was the most challenging surf we’ve had in a while. I didn’t have any hesitation though, I just got into race mode and it was a lot of fun.

“There’s a lot of luck when the waves are on, but you and your crew can make the luck too. I think we rolled twice, in one division we still won with a roll. We’re really pleased with our results across the whole weekend.

In the Surf Life Saving Australia national team selection event, NSW crews Port Kembla (Open Men) and South Curl Curl Under Dogs (Under 23 Men) will represent Australia in the Trans-Tasman Series held in New Zealand in 2023.

KEY STATS

  • 100 crews in the Short Course Championships
  • 50 crews entered in the National Teams Selection
  • 35 crews entered in the Mixed Short Course
  • 20 Officials
  • 12 Short Course events

SHORT COURSE RESULTS:

Open Men 

1 South Curl Curl Death Riders (NSW)

2 Lorne Chops

3 Wanda Weapons (NSW)

Open Women

1 Maroochydore Chums

2 Elouera YYC  (NSW)

3 Lorne Edge

Reserve Men

1 Macmasters Fat Dads (NSW)

2 Palm Beach Peppers (NSW)

3 Palm Beach Pad Locks (NSW)

Reserve Women

1 Coogee DMGs (NSW)

2 Elouera Power (NSW)

3 North Cronulla Diamonds (NSW)

U23 Men

1 Palm Beach Plumbers (NSW)

2 South Curly Underdogs (NSW)

3 South Curly Sneaky Nuts (NSW)

U23 Women

1 Glenelg Grenades

2 Coolum Raptors

3 Palm Beach Peastmode (NSW)

U19 Men

1 Palm Beach Penitokos (NSW)

2 Surfers Paradise Serpers

3 North Cronulla Adrenaline (NSW)

U19 Women

1 MacMasters Minis (NSW)

2 Collaroy Cobras (NSW)

3 Long Reef Castaways (NSW)

Mixed Opens

1 Wanda Weapon It (NSW)

2 Maroochydore Chorce

3 South Curly S Club (NSW)

Mixed Reserves

1 Palm Beach Prerolocks (NSW)

2 Maroochydore Fums

3 Palm Beach Pepperdactyls (NSW)

Mixed U23 

1 Palm Beach Plummode (NSW)

2 GlenGurl Green Dogs (NSW)

3 Glen Curl Gold Dogs (NSW)

Mixed U19 

1 Palm Beach Pearanas (NSW)

Monday 5 December 2022