Club claims fourth title in a row at Kingscliff
SURF LIFESAVING: Home beach advantage and a huge contingent of competitors has helped Cudgen Headland clinch its fourth consecutive NSW Surf Life saving Country Championship at Kingcsliff on the weekend.
Despite a solid challenge from South Coast club Warilla-Barrack Point, reigning champions Cudgen held on to claim the tile after two days of intense competition.
Warilla-Barrack Point had to be content with second place and Byron Bay put the pedal to the metal after trailing to Lennox Head to finish third on the podium.
The Cudgen open boys stormed home in the teams events on Sunday, stacking the deck in races like the Open Board Rescue and claiming the first five spots - Jarrad Cain, Scott McCartney, Rory Matthews, Kai Onley, Angus MacPhail, Jayden Mandall, Brodie Copeland, Liam MacPhail, Ben James and Liam Worling.
The two Liams, Worling and Wilson, were also first across the line in the under-19 board rescue and Joseph Warne won the U17 surf race.
The team of Scott McCartney, Jarrad Cain and Kai Onley were too strong for Warilla's Ben Carberry, Hayden White and Jayden Allen to claim the open male taplin relay with the club also winning the U19 male ski relay and open male board relay.
Fifteen year-old Lily O'Sullivan won the U17 and the open female surf race, U17 ironwoman, the U17 board and board rescue and the open board rescue and open board race with Olissa Onley.
Hayley Smith and Anthea Warne held off strong competition in the U19 female surf race and the U19 board, the U19 board rescue, the U19 iron and the open iron events. The girls teamed up with McCartney and Worling to also win the surf teams event.
Hayley and Lily both showed how versatile they are by winning medals in the beach events, as well as the water. Hayley claimed gold in the open female beach sprint and Lily was a close second in the U17 female beach flags.
The Cudgen girls won gold in the U17 and U19 female taplin relays, U19 female ski relay, U17, U19 and open female board relays. Individually, Olissa Onley was first in the U17 and the 2km beach runs and Sophie Boyd in the U19 board riding.
The juniors were on fire too with wins across the age groups: Jake Tickle U11 surf race; Reuben Maiden U14 male beach flags and board riding; Cooper Tate U15 beach sprint; Isabella Tate U12 beach flags; Ava Arghyros U12 board and surf race; Piper Phillips U11 board and surf race; Evie Clarkson U13 beach sprint; Andie Prichard U8 beach flags; U8 mixed wade relay; U8, U11 and U13 mixed beach relays and the all-age beach relay.
The team were super stoked at winning the all-age beach relay, one of the premier events of the carnival. Eight year-old Jack Brown said it was "amazing" to be part of the team and represent his club at his first Country Championships.
Even the Masters competitors put in a solid contribution to the final pointscore with firsts for Jennifer Curnow in the 40-49 beach flags and sprint; Susan Eke in the 60+ beach sprint; and Joanne Colja in the 50-59 beach flags.
Cudgen Headland SLSC president Grant Rogers admitted the team was a bit concerned by the Warilla freight train bearing down on them yesterday.
"Cudgen has once again come through for the fourth time for us and a big win," Rogers said. "We were getting run up there by Warilla on second and we thought we would struggle for the first. It was such a big team effort.
"This is a big one for the kids, a lot didn't come first but this is all about team spirit and participating together and keeping each other going and going one better than we have before," Rogers said.
Third-placed Byron Bay SLSC threw down the gauntlet and issued a challenge to the Cudgen club but Rogers said he wasn't worried.
"Byron have said they'll be back on top in 2021 but we say, c'mon Byron, we're looking forward to it," he said.
The president thanked his team of volunteers, the workforce who did the set-up and pack-down of the event and the water safety personnel and officials.
TOP 10 OVERALL POINTSCORE
1. Cudgen Headland SLSC: 1037
2. Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC: 826
3. Byron Bay SLSC: 456
4. Lennox Head-Alstonville SLSC: 433
5. Sawtell SLSC: 336
6. Port Macquarie SLSC: 284
7. Tacking Point SLSC: 222
8. Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore SLSC: 212
9. Yamba SLSC: 183
10. Coffs Harbour SLSC: 153