Surf club’s talent shine at championships
STRONG talents were on show when Byron Bay Surf Life Saving Club shone at the recent country championships.
The club came third overall at the event, held at Cudgen Headland, but a host of its members took home plenty of gold medals.
Among them was Suki Alford, who came in first in all her individual races: the U14s swim, board, ironwoman and 2km run.
"I'm not the best swimmer and I don't train that much but I was lucky to get waves," Suki said.
Suki said it was great for the club, which had fewer competitors than some of the other frontrunners, to come in third.
Cudgen took out the top spot, followed by south coast club Warilla-Barrack Point.
Lennox Head was a close fourth behind Byron Bay.
Finley Safranek, who's been a nipper since he was in the U7s, shone in the U10s, coming first in his swim.
"I felt that it was good because there was another person in my age group in the same club … he normally beats me," he said.
Andie Gilbert and Delilah Warton, both of the U9s, came first in the board and swim races respectively.
In a statement, the club said their competitors at the Country Championships ranged in age from seven to 76.
"The nippers are being set an extraordinary example from the masters in the club who competed with true professionalism and contributed significantly to the overall point score," the club said.
"It was the camaraderie and the friendship within and between the clubs which was eye catching.
"While Byron Bay Surf Club is proud of the third place, the relationships between the club members no matter what age or what skill level is what they are most proud of."
Club president Paul Pattison brought home gold medals, while supporting competitors across the event.
The McCabe brothers were unstoppable and brought home a selection of silverware.
The Byron Bay ski paddling results were replicated from the 1990s with names like Mike McCabe, Greg McCabe, Dan McCabe, Dean Rutgerson, Kurt Tutt, Karen Irwin, Jo Kay appearing repetitively in the results.
Other great performances in the Masters were from Tim Peacock, Phil Harvey, Scott Sewell, Colin Mustoe, Murray Saul, Rodney Anderson, Heli Murray, Mandy Montalbetti, Byron is fortunate to have created a supportive and welcoming environment enabling generations of families to be on the beach together on Sunday spread between arena's but all for the same cause.
Younger lads Bradley Kay and Shaun Sewell teamed with veteran ski paddler Kurt Tutt to finish third in the open ski relay and a second place went to the U17 ski relay, Jasper Alford, Max Anderson and Beau Carter.
Byron's successful nippers seemed to follow the lead of its female Master competitors.
Masters Jo Kay, Heli Murray, Karen Irwin and Mandy Montalbetti all walked away with individual and team medals.
The club's statement said Suki's positive attitude went beyond the competition.
"Suki along with her U14 peers completed her Surf Rescue Certificate this year and is committed to her role as a volunteer lifesaver on the beach," the club said.
"Suki quietly motivates the younger nippers and this no doubt influenced the efforts of Delilah Warton, Andie Gilbert, Phoebe Pockley and Isobel de Jong who also received individual medals.
"The widespread success of the girls is a great reflection of the committed family friendly culture that exists within the Byron Bay Surf Club enabling girls to maintain an active healthy community minded lifestyle from the age of 6 years."
More than 50 female competitors will demonstrate their skills again at the Far North Coast Branch Titles on February 22 and 23, hosted by Byron Bay Surf Club.