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New champions and familiar faces were crowned at North Avoca after a challenging but at times simply spectacular two days on the Central Coast paved the way for one of the great Surf Life Saving NSW Board Riding Championships.

More than 130 competitors descended on the iconic strip of Central Coast sand, formerly the home of WSL Championship Tour surfers, Ace Buchan, Matt Wilkinson and Wade Carmichael, to name a few, and showed the breadth of talent the Surf Life Saving movement has outside of its traditional lifesaving sport disciplines.

They did so across a wide range of events, from long board and short board to the two new divisions – Clubbie Board and Tag Team – which added a new element to the event first run in the 1949-50 season.

The Clubbie Board division was an ‘expression session’, of sorts, where surfers were given the opportunity to showcase their skills on a rescue board, while the Tag Team division tested competitors’ teamwork as well as their ability in the water on Sunday morning.

“It was strange not seeing anyone in comp rashies, with everyone out there in wetsuits on their rescue board but it was fun,” said Kiah Tebb of Avoca Beach SLSC on the Clubbie Board event.

Kiah was a clear winner in the Open Female division, while her brother, Will was victorious in the Youth Male Clubbie Board, and father, Nigel scraped into the medal placings by 0.10 in the Open Male to ensure it was a family affair on the podium.

No doubt their local knowledge of the conditions and break played a part – the Tebb’s would also pick up a gold medal in the U15 Female Short Board (Kiah), second in the 40-55 Male Longboard (Nigel), and thirds in the Youth Male Long Board (Will), Youth Female Long Board (Kiah), and U15 Male Short Board.

While an understanding of the beach helped one family, an eight-hour car ride would prove just as fruitful for another with Sofie and Warren Boyd of Cudgen Headland SLSC experiencing success across the weekend.

Sofie dominated the Open Female divisions, taking out both the Short and Long Board finals, while father, Warren placed second and third, respectively, in the events.

There was also repeat success for Charlie Burns of Redhead SLSC who picked up where she left off last year on Merewether Beach with wins in the U19 Female Short Board and Youth Female Long Board.

Adam and India Davidson’s 40-55 Male and U13 Female Short Board wins brought a couple more gold medals to the Hunter club.

Meanwhile, Sydney clubs dominated proceedings on Sunday with Short Board title wins going to Cronulla SLSC (Tate Browning, Open Male), Era SLSC (Joe Mison, U19 Male), and Coogee SLSC (Elisha Smith, 40-55 Female).

Bondi Rescue’s Anthony ‘Harries’ Carroll, meanwhile, carried the flag for Bondi SBLSC on the Long Board, taking out both the Open and 40-55 Male categories.

Tuesday 9 May 2023

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