Kingscliff Beach is set to come alive with the thrills and spills of surf action this weekend with competition in the 2019 NSW Envirobank Country Surf Life Saving Championships getting underway this weekend.
It’s been 16 years since this pinnacle surf sport competition was last staged at what is one of the Tweed’s most iconic beaches. Hosts Cudgen Headland SLSC are determined to put on a great show for the nearly 2000 athletes, officials, and supporters expected to descend on the area for the two-day-competition.
Open only to clubs outside the Hunter-Illawarra corridor, the Country Championships are a highlight of the surf sport calendar.
In 2019 around 1500 competitors will be proudly flying the flag for 36 country clubs from across the state.
Narooma’s Elli Beecham has further to travel than most and the athlete who is coached by her father is looking forward to taking to the sand in the U15s.
“My main goal is to have fun. I would also like to defend my Beach Flags title and continue to improve on my sprint results both at Country and other competitions,” Beecham said.
One athlete looking to make the most of home conditions this year is Kalani Ives. At last year’s Country Championships in South West Rocks the talented teenager won four gold medals in the U13 Female Ironwoman, Board, Ocean Swim, and 2km Beach Run events representing Yamba SLSC.
Now wearing the colours of Cudgen Headland, she will be out to defend her titles.
“My goal is to place in all events at Country Championships and place in the top six at State Championships, and I’m looking forward to catching up with my mates from other clubs,” said Ives.
Hosts Cudgen Headland have been preparing for this weekend for months and with the chance of taking out a third-straight-title at their home beach, they will be fielding the largest contingent of athletes at the Championships. At the southern end of the spectrum, Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC on the South Coast is expected to send almost 60 competitors.
“As the current Country Champions for the last two seasons, it’s great to showcase our athletes and demonstrate why we think we’re one of the best clubs in the country,” said Cudgen Headland Club President Adam Mills.
“We had 86 competitors last year at South West Rocks, but this year we’ve had over 150 members register for this event. Hosting it gives huge exposure to elite competition for more of our athletes that might not have travelled in previous years.”
With water temperatures still hovering near the 25 degree mark, swell conditions are expected to be favourable for the athletes and the club is looking forward to involving the community in the event.
“It’s a nice wide beach at the moment with plenty of scope to adjust areas for the conditions. At this time of year we have plenty of swell running with lots of alternate venue options for big swell if required.
“The Tweed Shire Council has just spent $21 million on our new foreshore with amphitheatre, which links our community together. This carnival will be centrally focused with everything happening all in one place,” said Adam Mills.
In a number of exciting changes this year, competition on the beach track will extend to the twilight hours to take advantage of the cooler conditions, while the traditional March Past has also shifted to Saturday afternoon so more spectators can witness an event which dates back to the very beginnings of surf sport.
The 2019 NSW Envirobank Country Surf Life Saving Championships is the only event on the surf sport calendar to feature a full range of events including surfboats, as well as all age groups from U8s through to Masters, within a two-day surf carnival. It will be staged at Kingscliff Beach on the weekend of February 2-3.
Thursday 31 January 2019