While the Bate Bay surf lifesaving clubs didn’t knock the Newport juggernaut off its perch in the point score, local surf athletes were all over finals day at the NSW Surf Lifesaving Championships at Blacksmiths Beach with Wanda and Elouera finishing second and third on the podium.
Sydney Branch made up six of the top 10 clubs, the branch comprising of fifteen clubs stretching south from North Bondi to Burning Palms in the Royal National Park.
North Bondi finished fifth, North Cronulla seventh, Cronulla eighth and Coogee ninth.
Veterans Hayden Allum and Nathan Smith showed they still have what it takes by winning the open board rescue.
Wanda's female ski paddlers were also on fire with firsts to Elyssa Pierce, Georgia Sinclair and Emily Eaves in the under-19s and open double ski races. Georgia also took out the under-19s single ski.
The under-17s male and female surf team wins also went Wanda’s way.
Wanda's Emily Eaves and Rachel Sothern were way too excited about winning the under-19s board relay, just loving competing together and with the larger team from Wanda over the weekend.
“We actually won last year and we had a bit of bad luck at Aussies, so we wanted to regain it again and it went so well and we did it. The first time we raced was last year and we kind of just clicked, we just worked well together, we bounce off each other,” Emily said.
“The Wanda crew has gotten a lot bigger, we’re bonding a lot. It’s a good club culture we’ve got going and it’s getting bigger and bigger every year.”
The under-19 surf team winners from Elouera put on another example of great teamwork in their race. Harry Came, Jake Evans, Chris King and Matt Sperring all crossed the line in the top nine.
“Me and Kings have been there since Nippers, Matt came across from Warilla three years ago and we just had Harry join us this year," Jake said.
"It’s been really good joining this crew and it’s been really good seeing the juniors coming through in the 15s. A couple of the older guys are still running around. Tommy O’Keefe really stepping up to coach and show us all how it’s done."
Sperring was overwhelmed at winning the under-19s Ironman title and credited his nan with helping him win.
“I changed clubs last year, it was a hard year. I came back to Elouera this year and I’m living with my nan, she's gotten me to where I am and I owe this win to her,” he said.
“This feels awesome. It's been a really tough couple of years with sickness. I had glandular fever and pneumonia last year and to come back and do this, it's been a goal from the start of the season to have a good state champs. I've raced a lot and made a lot of mistakes but this feels awesome.”
The Elouera cap was everywhere on the sand too, with the club taking out heaps of the relay events including under-19 female and mixed, the under-17 mixed and the trifecta in the under-15s with the male, female and mixed races.
Nearby North Cronulla SLSC had some great results across many age divisions, including gold medals to Indi Bulian and Heidi Quintano in the under-15s R&R and again in the five-person R&R, right through to Will Budd in the open board race.
Lucy Flanagan won the under-15 beach flags and as usual, the Rampoldi sisters battled it out in the flags and sprints, with Alex victorious in the under-19 and open beach flags events and Leah second in both.
Tiahna Woodger won both the under-17 and open divisions in the 2km beach run and in the surf boats, the North Cronulla Funkys took out the under-23 female surfboat final and the Funky Colts were second in the open male division.
Flanagan was elated to back up her previous four wins in the flags.
“It’s pretty amazing especially being here, all the really tough competition we have in NSW. It’s a really big honour to be able to win,” she said.
“All the girls have been pushing each other hard but we get the results so that’s great. All the friendships that you make, there is a big close bunch of girls in under-15s. Big shout to my coaches.”
Cronulla were once again strong on the sand and were very happy with the newly introduced 20 to 29 age group with both a gold and silver in the 20 to 29 female beach sprint and gold and bronze in the 20 to 25 male beach sprint.
They also had a remarkable result from beachie Isabellah Walker with four gold medals in the open female sprint, the under-17 female sprint and both the open and under-17s relays.
Cronulla have a dedicated beach coach in Mark Redrup and he has shaped the sprint team into champion athletes with a one-team mentality.
With only three weeks to the 2019 Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships, Redrup has spoken to the team and athletes are to focus on healthy eating, sleeping, preparation and consistency in training.
Broadbeach and North Burleigh surf lifesaving clubs will host the 'Aussies' from March 30 to April 7.
2019 NSW Surf Lifesaving Championships
Top 10 point score
Newport SLSC 525
Wanda SLSC 359
Elouera SLSC 246
Manly LSC 245
North Bondi SLSC 240
Umina SLSC 168
North Cronulla SLSC 166
Cronulla SLSC 146
Coogee SLSC 112
Swansea Belmont SLSC 100