Wanda the best of Bate Bay clubs

The Australian Surf Life Saving Championships is an event where members from Australia's 315 Surf Clubs come together to compete in more than 480 beach and ocean events.

It is the largest event of its kind, only comparing with the likes of the Commonwealth Games and the 6000 competitors competed in hundreds of Open,Junior and Masters events throughout nine intense days of competition across three Sunshine Coast beaches.

Cronulla's SLSA National Sport Manager Wayne Druery said everyone involved in surf lifesaving, was disappointed when they had to make the decision to cancel the Aussies in 2020 due to COVID-19, but were super excited to finally run the 2021 Aussies on the Sunshine Coast.

It's called the battle in the surf, but it was on the sand that the Bate Bay surf club competitors shone, winning over half of all medals on offer with Wanda's Open men's relay team bringing the screaming crowd to their feet with a famous win- the first in the clubs 75 year history.

The four runners who were teammates with Marc Leabeater, who died after a crash at Caringbah six days before Christmas in 2015, made the most of a Northcliffe baton mishap and stormed home for the emotional gold medal.

Wanda's Ali Najem also became the first man in the history of surf lifesaving to take out four titles in the Open Male 2km Beach Run.

Najem, a Muslim Australian, won the title under impressive circumstances, having been fasting for Ramadan since April 12 and still recovering from a 2020 foot injury.

Ali may have taken the top prize in the 2km beach run but the next day he lost out to the Cronulla SLSC silver medalist Nathan Breen and Jack Robertson who sprinted away in the first leg to take the win in the two by 1km beach relay.

Wanda SLSC who had finished second in the NSW titles was the best of the local clubs finishing 5th overall behind powerhouse QLD club Northcliffe who are proving unbeatable with their competitive depth.

All the Bate Bay clubs finished in the top 15 with North Cronulla who won the Open Female Short Course Surf Boat Race in 11th,Cronulla SLSC with beach flags and sprinting gold medalist Bella Walker in 14th and Elouera who picked up the Reserve Grade Male Surf Boat with Wilko's Crew finishing in 15th from the 300 national clubs.

Nathan Spinner the Wanda SLSC President said it was a superb result from everyone and an all round club effort from the Wanda team.

"We crowned nine new Australian Champions, achieved many medalists and top six finishes against the very best of surf sports in Australia.

"Our results came from all sections, which is really pleasing and shows strength across all our sport programs-importantly, it's not just about those who win medals - we had a large team of athletes who came up here and gave it there all in every race and contest, which counts for everything.

"Huge thanks to all our members who kept patrols going back at Wanda while so many of us were at the Aussies," said Mr Spinner.