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Newport romped home to take out the double in the Open Ironperson and double Open Taplin Relays to seal the deal on an incredible seventh straight NSW Championships title.

The 2020 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club, wrapped up today after a solid three days of Opens event competition at Swansea Belmont SLSC on Blacksmiths Beach.

After two weeks of competition, the 2020 State Championships finished on a high today with Newport SLSC winning the final Opens Championships event – making it seven championship titles in a row and an unparalleled achievement.

The NSW State Championships attracted around 6,000 competitors of all ages from across NSW - along with 600 volunteer officials and 15,000 family members and spectators.

Events kicked-off this morning with the traditional ceremony of the March Past event. Being International Women’s Day - and 2020 being the 40th anniversary of women becoming active surf lifesavers in Australia - a special Colour Party was formed to celebrate the achievements of women in Surf Life Saving. Led by newly awarded SLSA life member (and Carnival Referee) Jenny Kenny from Cudgen Headland SLSC, the Colour Party included some of the surf lifesaving movement’s trailblazing women.  

Then it was down to business and NSW elite surf sports athletes’ skills were demonstrated during competition with the premier finals events being run in near-perfect weather conditions. Another day of sunshine and three-to-four-foot swell allowed all athletes to perform to the best of their ability.

It was fitting that on International Women’s Day, one of the best performances of the event came from Ironwoman Jemma Smith from Umina SLSC. She delivered a knockout performance in the surf to win the Female Open Ski Race and came third in the Ironwoman event after Emily Doyle from Newport and Naomi Scott from Manly.

“It’s certainly great conditions out there today – very challenging. But we managed to get a pretty clean start in the Opens and that set me up for the rest of the race. And then I managed to ride in on the back of a little clean wave which was nice. The start can make or break your racing on a day like today,” said Jemma Smith.

“Some of these races have been really tight on that shorey today so I was just praying that I’d pick up a nice little wave to bring me to shore and I did which was really nice,” she said.

The Newport club juggernaut tested the competition on finals day to consolidate the club’s overall lead and finish with an unassailable victory of 568 points - 181 points ahead Wanda on 387 and Manly on 186. Third place came down to the wire with Manly beating Elouera by just six points.

Darren Warrener – Competition Director at Newport said that the result was ‘wonderful’.

“Seven in a row is an outstanding achievement for any club. It’s all about the kids and the competitors and they all blend and gel well together and I think it’s outstanding. We’re pretty excited.

“There are many highlights. The Open Taplin Finals are always the premier event – outside the ironperson – and Newport won both which I think is outstanding. And then Max to win the Open Ironman and Emily got the Open Female so it was altogether a great weekend.

Newport Coach Trent Herring said that having ‘Mr Newport’, Nick Carroll turn up to cheer the team on brought some special energy.

“Emily Doyle won the under 19 ski race which was really exciting for her. The boys in the 15s did really well in the Team events and backed up again today. They went one, two, three, four in the Surf Race and they went one, two, three, four in the Irons. They’re a great bunch of kids and super-competitive. Those guys have got a long career ahead of them,” Herring said.

After winning the Female Iron event, an exuberant Emily Doyle said that the race was hard but great because it was super close the whole way.

“I kept my head together and just worked with Jemma and Naomi and we worked with each other in the swim and we all got the same wave. And I just put my head down and I didn’t care if I was going to pass out without breathing. I really wanted that win,”, said Emily Doyle.

Emily Maythers from North Cronulla was equally surprised and delighted with her win in the U19 Female Surf Race. And she backed up that performance with a second place in the U19 Female Ski Race.

“I’m actually really stoked with my swim. I’m actually more of a ski paddler or an ironwoman, but I always have a go at the swim because it’s something I train for. And I was stoked to swim in the top pack with all the girls getting amongst it and on the way in I was quite lucky to jump on an awesome wave as a run up the beach,” said Emily Maythers.

The prestigious Open Ironman event was won by Max Brooks from Newport - with fellow club mate and reigning title holder Jackson Borg coming a close second.

“I’m definitely happy with that. It’s a short race with a lot going on. A lot of good athletes. It was good for the club to win two years in a row. It was a really good day for the club so hopefully we can build the momentum,” said Max Brooks.

“We have a really good club culture and we focus on the teams. Good teams breed good individuals. Any individual results are a bonus,” said Brooks.

Second-placed Wanda SLSC had a stellar day at the championships and came in first in the U17 Male Ski Relay and the Open Female Ski Relay. They also won the Open Male Surf team and the U17 Male Surf Team.

It was announced that the Championships will return to Swansea Belmont in 2021 for a fifth year and club president Graham Burge says the team are all happy to host the event again, despite the hard work.

“The event’s been fantastic. We had terrific conditions for competition again this year and everyone’s enjoyed the competition over the past few weeks which is great. And the Opens was great today with perfect waves.

“The local community and our volunteers worked so hard to pull the event together, these people are fantastic. We thrive on this sort of stuff and when people from the surf life saving family come up to thank our workforce personally for their hard work it’s fabulous,” said Burge.

After two weeks of competition across all age groups, the competition winners in each Championship event were: Age ChampionshipsNorth Curl Curl SLSC (289 points), Masters ChampionshipsBondi Surf Bathers (396 points) and Opens Championships  – Newport (568 points).

Top 10 Pointscore – Opens Championships - 2020

  1. Newport SLSC - 568

  2. Wanda SLSC - 387

  3. Manly SLSC - 186

  4. Elooura LSC - 180

  5. North Cronulla - 171

  6. North Bondi SLSC - 162

  7. Swansea Belmont SLSC - 155

  8. Coogee SLSC - 136

  9. Cronulla SLSC - 126

  10. Umina SLSC - 122

* Updated on Wednesday 11 March 2020.