Day Two of the 2022 Oakberry Acai NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships saw a whole new cohort of champions crowned, many of them in the younger divisions but punching well above their weight.
The three-day event at Cape Hawke SLSC, Forster is the biggest surf sport event for athletes outside the metropolitan areas with 33 surf clubs represented at this year’s event.
Some amazing performances were recorded in the hotly contested and prestigious Open Ironman and Ironwoman finals.
Yamba’s Kalani Ives enjoyed the most successful day of her surf career, taking out the U17 Ironwoman race, then lining up minutes later in the next event to win the Open Ironwoman title by a country mile from second and third placegetters Hayley Smith from Cudgen Headland and Kate Murray from Sawtell. Surf conditions were extremely tough but the 16 year-old made it look easy, adding to her swag of gold medals and a clean sweep of the U17 Surf, Ski and Board races, in addition to the Open Surf, Ski and Board races.
The young competitor backed up race and after race throughout the day. “Long distance is my thing and I love it, especially the Irons, that’s my favourite. I’m loving the ski in the Opens, I’ve aways wanted to be an ironwoman and paddle the Molokai,” said Kalani.
In similar fashion, 16 year-old Oliver Sharpe from Lennox-Head Alstonville SLSC skipped straight to the Open Ironman start line and walked away with gold, adding to his U17 Board race victory. Sister Niamh Sharpe also enjoyed successes in the U15 Board race and the U15 Surf Board Riding event.
“I was going to do U17s then I thought I might do Opens and race with the boys and have a bit of fun. I was a bit shocked, I didn’t think I’d come in first, but that’s surf racing for you,” said Oliver.
Day Two events included a full program of Masters water events and Surf Boat racing, which saw some crews come unstuck in the tough conditions. Short course racing also featured which gave the country crews an extra chance at a Championships medal.
Local North Coast crews were dominant in the boats, with division wins by Port Macquarie (Masters female) South West Rocks (Masters male) Coffs Harbour (Reserve male), Wauchope Bonny Hills (Open male) and Woolgoolga (Open female).
At the end of Day Two, Cudgen Headland is narrowly ahead of Warilla-Barrack Point in the overall pointscore, after solid performances by Warilla’s young competitors in both individual and teams events bolstered their medal tally. The U19s dominated their age group, with wins in the Ski Relay, Board Relay, Surf Teams (and Open Surf Teams) with Bailey Krstevski first in the U19 Surf race. Jackson Walsh took gold in the U17 Surf and Iron races and Lachlan Blake won the Open Surf race.
U15 Rescue Tube race winners in both male and female events were Warilla’s Leivi Willis and Ivy Miller and Imogen Walsh won the U12 Ironwoman and Max Cohen the U11 Ironman.
Local club success is being led by Black Head SLSC, currently sitting 11th in the overall pointscore. The great result from the small club was aided by wins to Ashleigh Pegrum (U12 Beach Sprint), Ella Pegrum (U12 Beach Flags), and the U17 Male Ski Relay team (Izaac Boag, Jayme Wisemantel, Joel Fleming).
Forster SLSC celebrated a gold medal in U14 Male Beach Flags with a win by Dylan Kinkade.
The 2022 Oakberry Acai Country Championships concludes on Sunday at Cape Hawke’s One Mile Beach, with the 2km Beach Run, Masters board rescues and the Taplin team relays.
Top 20 Club Pointscore – Day Two
1 Cudgen Headland 733
2 Warilla Barrack Point 712
3 Port Macquarie 431
4 Lennox Head Alstonville 388
5 Byron Bay 268
6 Sawtell 214
7 Yamba 212
8 Woolgoolga SLSC 189
9 Mollymook 170
10 Coffs Harbour 127
11 Black Head 124
12 Gerringong 103
13 Urunga SLSC 76
14 Cabarita Beach 74
15 Nowra Culburra 56
16 Wauchope Bonny Hills 50
17 Brunswick 43
18 Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore SLSC 39
19 Broulee Surfers 38
20 Hat Head 27
20 Kiama Downs 27
Saturday 29 January 2022