The 2019 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club, wrapped up on Sunday after a solid three days of competition in the Opens at Swansea Belmont SLSC.
The elite level of the sport was on display in a big way as the premier events were run under blue skies, high temperatures and small surf conditions.
The Newport steam train ran straight through finals day to consolidate the club’s overall lead, an unassailable victory of more than 160 points ahead of Wanda SLSC and Elouera on equal points with Manly LSC for third place.
Almost on cue, the Morris boys were across the line first in the key events, including Zach’s clean sweep in the U17 Iron, Ski, Board and Surf races. Mitch did the same in the U15s, with the Iron, Board and Surf races and Jake got a silver in the U15 Ironman along with a swag of medals in the teams events.
Mitch Trim took out the Open Ski race, Kimberley Doyle won the U15 Ironwoman and Jackson Borg is the new NSW Open Ironman Champion after a ding dong battle in the flat conditions.
“I was pretty shocked that I won in a cat and mouse with Kendrick Louis and Jay Furniss. It was very tactical, no one wanted to get a wave to take the lead but I got them on the way up the beach. I’m stunned, I’m so stoked with this win, I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Borg.
The host club’s 9th place overall was well deserved with some awesome performances over the weekend from Swansea Belmont competitors. Nick Stoddart’s dead heat with Zach Morris from Newport in the U17 Board Race was heart-stopping and even the judges couldn’t call it. Nick was first in the Board Relay, the Board Rescue and was part of the U17 Taplin team winners.
Swansea’s Ethan Coates took out the U19 Surf Race and with it, the Saxon Bird memorial trophy in memory of the late surf lifesaver. Ethan was also in the winning Board Relay team.
Neighbouring club Redhead were solid in most of the events, but finals Sunday was Nicola Owen’s time to shine. First across the line time after time, the Redhead teen was virtually unbeatable, winning the U19 and Open Board races and the U19 Ironwoman, all in the space of about an hour and a half.
Despite not being in peak condition, Daniel Collins still put in an impressive performance to get second in the Open Surf Race. It was a family affair for the Collins locals, with sister Jess in the commentary box for the broadcast livestream of the event, sharing her knowledge and experience of racing at an elite level with viewers at home.
Daniel was surprised with his results this weekend. “It’s been a great weekend with all the boys in the club and it’s been awesome having my family here and having Jess back involved with the commentary this weekend,” said Collins.
“I think I’ll have to go back and look at what she’s had to say about me on the livestream. I’m sure she had a crack at my fitness and how I was performing out there but she’s had a great time up in the commentary box. She has represented Australia and she knows a lot about our sport, she knows what she’s talking about. She’s done a great job.”
After taking out the overall Junior Championship title last weekend, Cooks Hill had another reason to celebrate with Bella Williams pushing out all comers with a stunning run up the beach to claim the U17 Ironwoman title.
The best performing Central Coast club was Umina in 6th spot, in no small way due to the efforts of Jemma Smith. Wins included the Open Female Champion Lifesaver and the prestigious Open Ironwoman title, Open Ski and she and the team took out the Open Taplin.
She was backed up by the club’s new recruit, Bailey Johns who made the move from Avoca Beach during the year and finished up winning the U19 Board Race and was second in the U19 Ironman.
In the surf boat finals it came down to the wire in many races due to the lack of waves and the Open Men’s Bulli crew emerged victorious for the sixth time in a row.
“This feels so good, it’s brilliant. We’ve been here a couple of times before and it just keeps getting better,” said sweep Shane Geloven. “It was such a long flat race, they had to row hard the whole way. We jagged a nice runner that got us right through to the line.”
Peter Spence’s Palm Beach Patriots won the Open Women’s race by hooking onto a small surge to take them across the line. His Reserve Mens crew also won gold in another super tight race.
“We’ve been after this title for years. We had a great start and the boys they did everything asked of them in that race. We’re looking forward to Aussies. We won the boat relay yesterday and another five crews got into the finals so we’re all pumped up,” said Spence.
The all-female Sth Maroubra Reserve Womens crew swept by Bec Hamilton were ecstatic with their win.
“The girls did everything right and deserve all the credit. It is so special, but what makes it special is doing it with your mates and they’ve got to back me and I’ve got to back them,” said Hamilton in her first season at Sth Maroubra after moving from Coogee. “It was a really tough race but the girls were awesome and what a great day it was to be here at the State Champs.”
The Championships return to Swansea Belmont in 2020 for a fourth year and club president Graham Burge says the team are all happy to host the event again, despite the hard work.
“It’s probably one of the best events we’ve ever run. The conditions were just right and the beach was left immaculate, which is great.
“Our Work Force worked so hard, these guys are just trojans. We thrive on this sort of stuff and people come out of the woodwork to make it happen,” said Burge.
Top 10 Overall Pointscore
1 Newport SLSC 525
2 Wanda SLSC 359
3 Elouera SLSC 245
3 Manly LSC 245
4 North Bondi SLSC 240
5 North Cronulla SLSC 171
6 Umina SLSC 168
7 Cronulla SLSC 146
8 Coogee SLSC 112
9 Swansea Belmont SLSC 100
10 Freshwater SLSC 62