Exciting racing and some challenging conditions gave surfboat crews from across the state the chance to showcase their hard work and amazing skills over three days at the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly presented by Your local club and hosted by Queenscliff and North Steyne SLSCs.

Competitor numbers increased this year, with almost 250 crews entered across all age divisions, including Masters.

The major uplift in crews taking to the waves at Sydney’s Manly Beach were seen in the Under 19 male and female divisions; great news for the future of this demanding but exhilarating sport.

“It was a great three days of racing, with a testing surf for all crews to manage. The standard of competition continues to increase with extremely close finishes in most divisions,” said referee Greg Heard.

“It was also great to see a number of crews from clubs that had been absent for a few years, make a return and be competitive. Sunday, finals day had some of the best racing and provided a great spectacle for everyone on the beach.”

After a few upsets in the quarter and semi-finals saw some of the race favourites knocked out early, there were some nail-biting finishes when it came down to the final eight races on Sunday.

The first gold medal fell to Queenscliff’s Reserve Male crew (Damien Daley, Louis Alston, Nicholas Hampton, William Thackray and Douglas Bone), followed by the Batemans Bay Banshees in the Reserve Female final and pretty much all of Manly heard them whelp with joy and relief on the shore.

Batemans Bay was certainly flying the flag for the far south coast clubs, with all four crews through to the finals.

The Banshees, swept by Neil Innes and including wife Tracey Innes, Donna Marie Clarke, Megan Douros and Alison Weyman were on a high after also picking up gold in the Masters racing on Friday.

“It’s been a long time coming, well a long time for me,” said Tracey, a veteran of the sport after 26 years.

“It’s great to show that a bit of age doesn’t weary them,” added Neil.

South Curl Curl SLSC showed their dominance in the younger divisions, with wins in the U19 and U23 Male races, both swept by an ecstatic Rob Lowery. The Dribblers crew of Sam Merry, Zane Mcgregor, Cody Kearney and Levi Welsh crossed the line in one of the closest finishes of the day, while the all-local Curly boys, the Underdogs crew of Zac Lowery, Tremayne Chivers, Tasman Farrell and Harrison Andrew were celebrating their time in the sun as U23 champions.

The Palmie Army featured heavily in the finals action as usual, winning two of the eight golds on offer. Stephen Cox swept the U23 Palm Beach Peastmode crew of Emily Wise, Kenya Fahey and Annika Beesley (with Jess Wise filling in for injured stroke Aysha Whyte) to victory, while Peter Spence’s U19 Puddles crew of Chloe Driver, Chloe Brunker, Zoe Elliot and Madeleine Julliard made it look like they have been rowing for years.

“The girls haven’t lost a carnival all season,” said Peter Spence. “The girls have been brilliant, they’re an exceptional crew.”

In an incredibly tight finish, Bulli Gold won the coveted Open Female division, swept by Paul Jones and featuring Georgia Leach, Brooke Dent, Sarah Hill, and Stephanie Roberts. The win was a bit overwhelming for the rowers, with lots happening over the last year, a State gold medal was a big surprise.

“They train hard, make lots of sacrifices…they’ve got seven kids between them. I’m so proud of them,” said the sweep. “We’re a strong boat club, but a family club, which is what makes this possible,” said one of the crew.

Damien Daley’s NSW titles tilt ended on the ultimate high with his Queenscliff A Rollers Open Male crew of Connor Hopkins, Chris Cunningham-Reid, James Molloy and Zac Von Appen taking out the last race of the championships.

It was DD’s second gold of the day and a fitting end to the entire 2024 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, winning for the host club Queenscliff in its 100th anniversary year.

“We did this for a lot of people in our club,” said DD. “We’ve had to juggle a lot of things this year, and on our home beach, it’s unreal.”

The referee thanked all the volunteers involved in making the event such a success.

“Thanks again to all of the officials who worked tirelessly each day to ensure the event ran smoothly for the competitors,” said Greg Heard.


Open Male

Queenscliff A Rollers

Wanda Weapons

Port Kembla Pork Knuckles

Open Female

Bulli Gold

Nth Cronulla Funkys

Port Kembla Ogs

Reserve Male

Queenscliff Major A’s

Batemans Bay Team A

Bulli Gold

Reserve Female

Batemans Bay Banshees

Sth Curl Curl

Palm Beach Pterodactyls

U23 Male

Sth Curl Curl Underdogs

Palm Beach Phins

Palm Beach Penitokos

U23 Female

Palm Beach Peastmode

Avoca Beach Zephyrs

Collaroy Crusaders

U19 Male

Sth Curl Curl Dribblers

Port Macquarie Orcas

Palm Bech Popes

U19 Female

Palm Beach Puddles

Avoca Beach Yetis

Coffs Harbour Fruitloops

Surfboat Relay

Avoca Beach Team A

Collaroy Red

Coogee Boat Crews


160 Years Male

Elouera GreatMen

Sth Maroubra Weapon Vets

Queenscliff Forty and Firing

160 Years Female

Manly Moonlighters

Woolgoolga No Points

180 Years Male

Avoca Beach Blue Pills

South West Rocks Show Bags

Wanda Thumpers

180 Years Female

Batemans Bay Banshees

Queenscliff Reality Queens

Coogee Spices

200 Years Male

Kempsey Crescent Head The OCs

Sth Maroubra Scoobydoos

Woolgooga Mud Crabs

200 Years Female

Wanda Kessels

Nth Narrabeen Dreadnaughts

220 Years Male

Sth Maroubra Snagglepuss

Bulli Team A

Nth Cronulla Vets

240 Years Male

Freshwater Spring Chickens

Sth Curl Curl White Bread

Kempsey Crescent Head The ROCs

260 Years Male

Nobbys Dicko 260s

Bulli Gold

Woolgoolga Long Strokers

Monday 18 March 2024