Surfboats dominate North Cronulla Christmas Carnival

Contenders: Sweep Grant Wilkinson and his Elouera open women's team will represent Australia in February. Picture: John Veage
Contenders: Sweep Grant Wilkinson and his Elouera open women's team will represent Australia in February. Picture: John Veage

North Cronulla had the largest team of 22 boat crews as the 37th annual North Cronulla Christmas Boat Carnival was held directly on North Cronulla Beach for the first time on Saturday.

The next boat carnival on the local beaches will be the Trans-Tasman Surf Boat Test Series where our Australian crews will row against New Zealand at Elouera Beach on February 17.

Saturday’s carnival saw a full day of racing from 8am to 4pm with 120 crews in attendance from all over NSW taking advantage of the good swell.

A minute’s silence was held prior to racing in honour of rower Ron Doolan who was killed in a cycling accident at Sutherland. All crews shouldered oars on the beach as a single surfboat silently payed respect to a fellow boatie lost too soon.

The carnival also served as a selection meet for the NSW team. There are four carnivals used to select the NSW surf boat team which will be announced early next year.

Recently selected Australian crews from local clubs, the Elouera open women’s and North Cronulla under 23 men’s crews, made the finals on the day.

Home club North Cronulla had the largest team with most crews making the semi-finals and finals. Best results for North Cronulla were a first in the under-19s men, second in the reserve women’s and under-23 women’s and third in the under-23 men’s.

This year’s Christmas carnival saw a different program run to previous years due to an unfortunate scheduling clash with the Ocean 6 Surf Series at North Wollongong. It meant there were limited open competitors in the board, ski, swim and beach events. 

At Ocean 6, athletes compete across six disciplines including board paddling, open ocean swimming, surf ski, Taplin relay, beach flags and the flagship Nutri-Grain Ironman and Ironwoman professional competition.

Round six of the Ironman and Ironwoman competitions will be held on February 24 and 25 at North Cronulla.

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