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While the host club for this year’s Envirobank NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships came away with top billing, other Far North Coast clubs and competitors proved they are no slouches with five clubs featuring in the top ten.

Byron Bay SLSC narrowly retained third place on the podium after a major onslaught by neighbouring club Lennox Head-Alstonville.

Strong performances by some of Byron’s masters and juniors in particular secured their place for another year, with the club vowing to make a comeback and take on Cudgen Headland for the top spot at next year’s event.

The McCabe brothers from Byron - Michael, Greg and Dan were pleased with the win in the 30+ Ski Relay while teammates Peacock, Rutgerson and Tutt were right behind in second.

Karen Irwin, Joanne Kay and Helen Murray also claimed first in the female event. In the over 60s, Colin Mustoe, Saul Murray and Paul Pattison were dominant in most of their racing.

Caitlin Callaghan won the Open Female Board Riding event over at the surfing and Suki Alford was first across the line in the U14 Board Race. Little Andie Gilbert won in the U9s at her first Country Champs Board race.

Lennox Head should be pretty happy with its performance after sitting in third position until the final few hours of the championships saw a last minute charge by the Byron Bay team.

The Lennox juniors lapped it up, including some of the carnival’s newest competitors. John Ellis was the U8 Beach Flag champion and Billy Stewart has showed early promise winning the U8 Sprint and the Mixed Wade.

Ottavius Mcquaker was the club’s next Beach Flag gold medallist in the U9s and the U10 team of Henry Drew, Cian Harding, Oscar Klose and Ed Neto won the Mixed Beach Relay.

Niamh Sharpe has clearly been one of a bunch of competitors who have been putting in the hard yards on the board, winning the U13 Board Race and the Board Riding event.

Thomas Grimster, Maalik Moston and Charlotte Shepherd teamed up to take out the U14 Mixed Board Relay and Jackson Bond, Lachlan Mahon and Oliver Sharpe nailed the U15 Male Board Relay. Bond and Sharpe backed up to win the U15 Board Rescue.

In the U17s, Nathan Mackenzie had the experience to claim the Board and the Iron title.

Clubs further south also took home a swag of medals.

Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore SLSC showed their speed across the sand with firsts in the U11 Beach Run (Connor McGreevy and Skye Dogan) and the U12 Beach Run (Tyler Dogan).

Their Open Male Beach Relay team was victorious over some stiff competition and Noah Waldock took out the premier junior event on the sand, the U14 Beach Sprint.

Yamba proved it could hold its own against some of the larger clubs, securing ninth place in the overall pointscore.

Clement Sarrazin showed himself to be the fastest man across the sand in the 2km Beach Run, taking out the Open Male division. Kalani Ives took some time out of the water after seconds in the U15 Iron, Board and Rescue Tube races to win the U15 Female 2km Beach Run.

Young Felix Forbes was super stoked to win the U9 Board Race, showing some awesome surf skills in the challenging conditions. He thanked his coach the legendary Jim Dougherty, although at his age he may not yet be aware how lucky he is to have had such a great head start in surf sports competition. Speaking after the race, Felix gave a great blow by blow account of his first championship gold medal win.

“I paddled out and I got in front of everyone and once I got around the buoy I saw the wave and I kept on paddling and I looked behind and there was about like, two nippers behind me and I was worried. Then one fell off and I got the wave with the other one and I beat him to the finish.

“I was a bit nervous. Last year I came second in the Wade so I really wanted to win the Board this year,” Felix smiled.

Cabarita and Brunswick SLSCs also made their mark on the championships, despite their smaller contingents of competitors.

Caba’s U9 beach team kept their cool to win the Mixed Beach Relay (Chase Deengenaars, Lando Flint, Eden Jocumsen and Coco Kent) and Brunswick’s U12 team took gold in the same event in their age group (Tristan Burgess, Avalon Coulter, Izaak Harvey and Maddison Oliss.)


Top 12 - Overall Pointscore

  1. Cudgen Headland SLSC   1037

  2. Warilla Barrack Point SLSC           826

  3. Byron Bay SLSC               456

  4. Lennox Head - Alstonville SLSC   433

  5. Sawtell SLSC                    336

  6. Port Macquarie SLSC       284

  7. Tacking Point SLSC           222

  8. Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore SLSC        212

  9. Yamba SLSC                    183

  10. Coffs Harbour SLSC          153

  11. Cabarita Beach SLSC        144

  12. Brunswick SLSC               143


Thursday 6 February 2020