It’s the potential beginning of a new dynasty – Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC is the 2024 Oakberry Acai NSW Country Champions for the second straight year.
The South Coast club did it comfortably in the end, a means of victory more familiar to Cudgen Headland SLSC who may well have been in a battle for second since the starters gun fired to open proceedings on day one.
As the host club and defending champions, Warilla was strong in numbers, support and ultimately, surf skills, showcasing a thorough and comprehensive training program benefitting them heavily across the age groups and event categories.
Indeed, Warilla would finish the weekend with almost 200 individual and team medals and 152 points clear of the chasing pack – a far cry from the two years previous where a handful of points; a dropped baton or an unlucky run of waves, was the difference.
A significant fight back on the final day was enough to instil some confidence in Cudgen that next year could produce a different result, but for now, it appears Warilla on their home patch is a fearsome prospect that will prove difficult to beat.
“I saw grown men down on that beach with a couple of little tears in the eyes, it means that much to our Life Members and this club to go back-to-back,” Warilla-Barrack Point Head Coach, Kirk Allen said.
“We’re a really tight club and this whole week has been really something special.”
“Now we’ve got to back it up and do it all again next year,” Assistant Coach, Damien Sheedy added.
As they did last year, Warilla closed out the day with a win in the Open Male Taplin Relay, managing to come in first and second place in the event. Bailey Krstevski picked up a win in the Open Male Iron, bringing an end to Oliver Sharpe’s two-year reign as champion, and Claire Spicknall and Nicole Sims finished ahead of a group of four Cudgen competitors in the Open Female Iron.
“My gosh, it was so hard,” Claire said right after her win.
“I’m an U17 and I didn’t do too well in my own Iron but to step up and win here is so much more special.”
Yamba SLSC completed the podium, improving on last year’s result in the process, while surprise packets, Broulee Surfers SLSC – benefitting certainly from the shorter travel time but also from an improved training program – finished in fourth place.
“We’ve just started to pick up our training a lot more and it’s all gone really good,” said Rosie McPartland of Broulee, just moments after finishing a close second in the U15 Female Iron.
“I came fourth last year and I really wanted to be on the podium this year.”
Byron Bay SLSC, Woolgoolga SLSC, and Black Head SLSC finished fifth, sixth and seventh on the overall point score – the latter benefitting from an excellent final day from U19 competitor, Izaac Boag. The teen won the Single Ski and finished second in the Iron.
Mollymook SLSC capitalised on local knowledge to finish in eighth position, largely carried by results earlier in the program but in a Sunday highlight, Christian Ireland in the U17 category was very unfortunate not to finish with a gold medal in the Single Ski.
Port Macquarie SLSC and Gerringong SLSC closed out the top 10 which, in an illustration of just how dominant Warilla’s win ended up being, was nearly tighter in the point score between third and tenth than it was between first and second.
For full results, visit https://liveheats.com/events/201419
TOP 20 CLUB POINT SCORE
Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC – 1,396
Cudgen Headland SLSC – 1,244
Yamba SLSC – 378
Broulee Surfers SLSC – 317
Byron Bay SLSC – 316
Woolgoolga SLSC – 295
Black Head SLSC – 289
Mollymook SLSC – 247
Port Macquarie SLSC – 229
Gerringong – 190
Coffs Harbour SLSC – 143
Shellharbour SLSC – 107
Lennox Head-Alstonville SLSC – 97
Sawmill SLSC – 77
Kiama Downs SLSC – 72
Tathra SLSC – 60
Tacking Point SLSC – 58
Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore SLSC – 58
Kiama SLSC – 55
Nowra Culburra SLSC – 51
Sunday 28 January 2024