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The team from Warilla-Barrack Point have posed a serious threat to the defending Country Champions and have taken it to the host club Cudgen Headland on their own turf.

Day one of the 2020 Envirobank NSW Country Championships has been dominated by the cat and mouse plays between the two surf sport powerhouses, with Cudgen Headland finishing just in front on points leading into Sunday’s finals.

High temperatures and challenging water conditions didn’t faze the south coast contingent in the least, with Warilla clocking up the podium finishes in race after race.

Cudgen Headland’s chances of four titles in a row have been dented with today’s onslaught from the Warilla-Barrack Point team, despite their competitors numbering less than half of Cudgen’s 200 plus contingent. Warilla’s fortunes were improved with the addition of former top competitors Ben Carberry and Hayden White who transferred back to their club of origin from Queensland for the weekend so they could race with their home team.

The pair then proceeded to take it in turns for first and second in the Open Male Surf Race, Open Male Ski and the Open Ironman. Hayden also took out the Open Male Board race with Carberry in third behind Cudgen’s Angus MacPhail.

Soon after though Cudgen’s Scott McCartney, Angus MacPhail and Rory Matthews got one back in the Open Board Relay. McCartney and MacPhail also teamed up with Jarrad Cain and Jayden Mandall to beat the Warilla boys in the Open Surf Teams event.

The Envirobank NSW Country Championships gives competitors from outside the metro areas a chance to shine with clubs coming from as far south as Pambula to compete at this year’s event at Kingscliff beach.

An added bonus for fans was visits by some superstars of surf sports, Ali Day and Jordan Mercer. Ali was keen to watch his former clubmates from Warilla do their best and was happy to give the younger competitors some valuable race tips and motivation.

Ali hung around for a stint in the commentary box and reminisced on racing for the last time with former clubmates Hayden White and Ben Carberry at Cudgen 10 years ago.

“It would be great to come back and do a Taplin or a Board Relay with those guys. That was the last time the three of us raced together and it would be really special to do something again because we all came from that same area.”

“We had an unbelievable few years there with coaches and kids that came though. Everything goes in cycles and the club is in a really good cycle at the moment when in comes to parents helping out and volunteering. It’s really great to come down here this weekend and I took the kids up to the Gold Coast a few days ago for a training session.

“I remember back in the day I was so nervous racing and the country titles were everything as a kid. The kids are going great and they’ve got a huge support network and great coaches at Warilla.”

Other great results from the senior Warilla competitors include Lachlan Blake and Jayden Allen top two in the U19 Surf Race, U19 Board and U19 Ironman with Lachlan first in the U19 Ski, Jackson Blake first in the U15 Board and Ironman, Jordan White in the Open Female Ski and Board, Ivy Halliwell in the U15 Surf Race, Tylah Richards in the U15 Rescue Tube race, Blake McKay in the U17 Ski, the U17 and the U19 Male Board Relay teams, first and second in the U19 Mixed Surf Teams, the U15 and U17 Mixed Surf Teams, the U15 Female Board Relay, Zachary Byron in the U15 Surfboard Riding and Kirra Dale in the U17 Beach Sprint.

The junior competitors also dominated in many of the water areas, with stand out performances by young guns including Storm Balmain who got the trifecta of golds in the U12 swim, board and ironman.

“I've won this event four years in a row now at Country and it's one of my favourite events in all surf sports. You get to meet up with other friends and clubs and it's different because it's not all the big city clubs so it’s a good mix of people to race,” said the rising surf superstar.

It also helps if your coach is the father of Ironman champion Ali Day.

“Our coach Ross Day is awesome. We train three or four days’ a week and Ross gives us heaps of support and I love it.”

Awesome performances from the Warilla juniors included:

Jackson Walsh and Kynan Burke in the U14 Ironman, Jackson Walsh in the U14 Board, the U14 Mixed Surf teams, the Senior Cameron Relay team, Layke Shipley in the U13 Male Surf race, Ivy Miller and Sophie Davies in the U13 Surf race, Montana Doubell and Ivy Miller in the U13 Ironwoman, Storm Balmain and Lucas Krstevski in the U12 Surf Race and Ironman, Storm Balmain in the U12 Board, Kyah Shipley in the U12 Ironwoman, Max Miller and Maddix Burke in the U11 Board, Kobi Howard-Shilling in the U9 Surf race and Coco Balmain in her very first Country Champs winning the U8 Wade.

Swarms of bluebottles put an early end to the day’s racing after a large group of kids were pulled from the water suffering from stings. The Championships conclude on Sunday and highlights include the official March Past ceremony and the premier Taplin Relay teams events.

Day One Top 20

  1. Cudgen Headland SLSC             572

  2. Warilla Barrack Point SLSC        548

  3. Lennox Head - Alstonville SLSC 289

  4. Byron Bay SLSC                         233

  5. Sawtell SLSC                             178

  6. Port Macquarie SLSC                167

  7. Tacking Point SLSC                   136

  8. Yamba SLSC                             115

  9. Coffs Harbour SLSC                 104

  10. Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore SLSC        98

  11. Woolgoolga SLSC                      89

  12. Brunswick SLSC                        86

  13. Cabarita Beach SLSC               80

  14. Cape Hawke SLSC                   77

  15. Black Head SLSC                     62

  16. Minnie Water-Wooli SLSC        59

  17. Kiama SLSC                             51

  18. Mollymook Surf Life Saving Club        46

  19. Gerringong SLSC                     35

  20. Urunga SLSC                           34


Saturday 1 February 2020