Skip to main content

Defending Open Iron champion, Ollie Sharpe and his club, Lennox Head-Alstonville SLSC, is preparing to lead the charge for the smaller clubs at the 2023 Oakberry Acai NSW Country Championships at Cape Hawke SLSC next week.

The now 17-year-old experienced a coming-of-age party, of sorts, at last year’s event, stunning spectators by skipping the U17 Iron and moving straight to the Open race. He won the race with great distinction, adding to his U17 Board Race victory earlier in the day. His sister, Niamh also enjoyed success in the U15 Board race and in the surfing, the U15 Board Riding event.

If there’s a target on his back ahead of the 2023 event, you wouldn’t know it. Ollie has taken it smooth and easy heading into the Championships, save for competing earlier in January at the Super Surf Teams League and the Trans-Tasman Tri-series – the latter with the successful NSW Country squad.

“I was super stoked with my results last year,” he said.

“I’m very grateful for all the support I received throughout the season and particularly at Country Champs from my club, coaches, teammates and family.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without that great support.

“I haven’t been training much over the Christmas break, but I am looking forward to Country – it’s one of my favourite carnivals.”

He says there’s few things that can match the vibe around the event – from the people to the competitors to the officials, a Country Championships weekend is unlike any other.

“It’s about the atmosphere for me,” he said.

“Country just creates this great atmosphere – you’ve got U8s to Masters, board riding and the surf boats all racing on the same beach on the same weekend.

“Everyone gets around the races and cheers each other on in true country style and it creates a great environment.”

Last year, Lennox Head-Alstonville fell just short of a miraculous podium finish on the overall point score after some terrific showings, particularly from a strong young core of athletes.

Ollie believes there’s no reason they can’t be there again, building from the same foundations, and he says to keep an eye on the smaller clubs.

“At Lennox we have some amazing junior athletes coming through and some older members with lots of passion for the sport, but I wouldn’t underestimate any of the smaller clubs, especially if the conditions are a bit challenging at Cape Hawke,” he said.

“The goal for the club is to encourage and support as many athletes as possible to get involved in the sport.

“We try to encourage great sportsmanship and build kids’ confidence and ocean skills through participation in carnivals just like this one.”

The Oakberry Acai Country Surf Life Saving Championships will be hosted at Cape Hawke SLSC on the Lower North Coast, from 27-29 January 2023.

The Championships attracts around 1500 competitors from surf clubs outside the metropolitan areas of NSW.

For event information go to

Wednesday 18 January 2023