Skip to main content

The 2023 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club, is done for another year, as Newport SLSC capped a huge 12 days of elite competition with the Open title for an incredible ninth time.

Packed to the rafters with surf sports stars, Newport entered the Open Championships as the favourite once more and duly delivered on a day that finished with a win to a different cap, but an overall win to the gold and maroon.

Indeed, the Open Male Taplin Relay wrapped the final day of competition at Queenscliff Beach, with Redhead SLSC claiming a quite comprehensive win when it was all said and done; Isak Costello taking the time to passionately hug and high five each of his team mates on the shore before running up the beach to finish the race.

It capped a truly sensational day for the Hunter club who also walked away with an Open Male Ironperson title, with Daniel Collins finishing ahead of North Cronulla SLSC’s William Budd and Cronulla SLSC’s Jay Furniss. Young Nick Stoddart, who led after an incredible swim leg to kick things off, finished just outside the podium places for Swansea-Belmont SLSC.

It was to be Newport’s day, though, as the Northern Beaches club rode to victory on the back of their young talent just as much as their seasoned heads.

The ‘B’ team of Sascha Taurins, Piper Harrison, and Dominique Melbourn pipped the ‘A’ team of Jemma Smith, Maddy Spencer and Lizzie Welbourn in the Open Female Taplin, just one race from the end, as a signal the young guard is on the march, but Lizzie’s dominant win in the Open Female Iron not half an hour earlier – her first ever state title in the discipline – was a reminder of the club’s depth at all levels.

Wanda SLSC would finish second on the overall point score, with India Hulbert’s win in the U17 Female Surf Race, and Elyssa Pierce’s in the Open Female Ski – in tricky conditions – helping them to a fantastic finish.

Swansea-Belmont finished in third thanks to results like Kaitlin Rees gold medal in the U15 Female Surf Race and Redhead climbed from ninth to fifth between day two and three – Charlie Burns in the Open Female Surf Race and Lani Waller taking out the U17 Female Iron helping them to leapfrog several big Sydney clubs on the way.

Waller’s win, in particular, was very emotional, and followed her win in the same event of the U15s two years ago at Swansea.

Niamh Sharpe, the sister of Country Championships Open Iron winner, Ollie, grabbed a win for Cudgen Headland SLSC in the U17 Female Board Race and Lily Finati of North Bondi SLSC picked up wins in the U19 Female Board and Iron races.

Manly LSC’s Ethan Neville handled the conditions best to claim the Open Male Ski Race and Sidney Forbes of Cooks Hill SLSC came home strongest with some wave assistance in the U17 Male Ski. Cooks Hill also had a win with Alex Walker in the U17 Male Surf Race before he fell agonisingly short of a win in the U17 Iron.

Kyle Graham of Terrigal SLSC won the Jacob Lollback Memorial Trophy in the U19 Male Board Race, the Central Coast club’s only gold medal of the weekend.

Pipi Te Pania of North Curl Curl SLSC grabbed gold in the U15 Female Iron as her club edged Elouera SLSC – who had a win on the final day with Kai Robertson in the U19 Male Surf Race – to round out the top 10. In winning that race, Kai also won the Saxon Bird Memorial Trophy.

Further down the beach at the Surf Boats Championships, Bulli SLSC and Port Kembla SLSC were upset by local hope, Queenscliff SLSC in the Open Male final in an incredibly tight finish, while Palm Beach SLSC had four wins in the Open Female, Reserve Grade Male, U23 Male and Open Relay.

Top 10 Clubs

1. Newport SLSC

2. Wanda SLSC

3. Swansea-Belmont SLSC

4. North Cronulla SLSC

5. Redhead SLSC

6. North Bondi SLSC

7. Manly LSC

8. Coogee SLSC

9. Cronulla SLSC

10. North Curl Curl SLSC

Full results can be accessed here.

Sunday 5 March 2023