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Lifesavers from across the North Coast had plenty of reasons to celebrate with a number of outstanding results at the 2019 NSW Envirobank Country Championships hosted by Cudgen Headland Surf Life Saving Club at the picturesque Kingscliff Beach last weekend.

In a competition won by the hosts Cudgen Headland, Sawtell SLSC was the best performing North Coast club finishing in 5th overall ahead of branch rivals Coffs Harbour (12th) and Urunga (13th).

Conditions weren’t always favourable during a tough weekend of racing but after three years travelling to South West Rocks the North Coast contingent relished the chance to race at a new location.

A number of athletes from Sawtell SLSC were able to enjoy the experience of standing on the podium throughout the two-day carnival.

Among a number of highlights for the North Coast powerhouse was Maddison O’Leary (U11 Female Board), Breah Fischer (U13 Board Riding), Emily Meacham (U17 Female Ski), Patrick Carey (U13 Male Board Race), Jody Jenkins Junior (U8 Male Beach Flags), and Toi Wordsworth (U13 Male Beach Sprint) who all took home individual gold medals.

Other club athletes who enjoyed success were Isaiha Phillips (U15 Male Surf Race) and Aidan Carey (U11 Ironman) who both finished with a silver medal, and the U19 Female Taplin teams who impressed everyone with a one-two finish ensuring Sawtell would get plenty of points to add to their overall tally.

Not to be outdone by their fierce rivals a number of Coffs Harbour athletes ended the weekend with some bling.

Chief of these was Nicholas Bulloch who finished with 8 medals across the U17 and U19 Age Groups including team gold in the U17 Ski Relay. 

Jyii Mann won a competitive U17 Male Beach Run with club mate Matthew Parkin taking the bronze.

Riley Betland claimed silver in the U11 Male Beach Run with Lily Betland (U14 Female Surf Race), and Coco Backhouse (U10 Female Surf Race) also picking up second place finishes.

Rounding out the performances for Coffs Harbour was Ailish Barry who ended her competition with two medals; silver in the U17 Female Beach Run, bronze in the Beach Flags and was also a finalist in the Beach Sprint.

It was a solid return for Urunga SLSC who surged to their position on the overall table thanks to some excellent work by not only their Masters athletes who are traditionally strong but also some emerging talent which suggests the club is in good hands.

In the 30-39 Age Division Daniel Bannerman starred, earning a medal in five water events. His final haul would total two golds, two bronzes, and one silver. Tyron Cook (40-49 Age Group), Nathan Steele (50-59) and Jim McCullagh (60+) would all enjoy plenty of success and earning their place on the podium throughout the competition.

At the opposite end of their careers but still proudly wearing the Urunga Surf Cap were Riley Andrews (U12 Female Surf Race), and Lulu McGrath (U13 Female Beach Flags) who both earned gold medals, while fellow club mates Cooper Andrews ( 3rd - U11 Female Surf Race) and Lucy Rogers ( 2nd - U10 Female Beach Sprint) also had a productive weekend.

NSW Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon said it was a quality carnival that highlighted the very best of surf sport competition.

“I would like to acknowledge all the athletes, officials and supporters for an outstanding weekend of racing conducted in the true spirit of Surf Life Saving.

“Cudgen Headland were outstanding hosts and we certainly enjoyed our time at the beautiful Kingscliff Beach,” he said.

The 2019 NSW Envirobank Country Championships were held at Kingscliff Beach last weekend with the action returning again to the Far North Coast Beach in February 2020.

Top 10 Overall Standings

1 Cudgen Headland SLSC 1128

2 Byron Bay SLSC 687

3 Warilla Barrack Point SLSC 479

4 Lennox Head - Alstonville SLSC 317

5 Sawtell SLSC 300

6 Port Macquarie SLSC 287

7 Tacking Point SLSC 245

8 Yamba SLSC 212

9 Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore SLSC 171

10 Cabarita Beach SLSC 163


Tuesday 5 February 2019