Age no barrier for Yamba surf vet
RAY Burridge’s mantra ‘age shall not weary them’ rings true as the 73-year-old prepares to embark on another NSW Country Surf Lifesaving Championships today.
The grandfather-of-five – and eldest competitor at the event – is part of the 35-strong Yamba Surf Club team making the trek to South West Rocks for one of the biggest events on the surf sports calendar.
About 2000 participants will take to the water from today until Sunday.
Burridge will compete in the surf swim and tube rescue in the over-60 age bracket.
“I have given away 12 or 13 years,” laughed Burridge, who suffered a stroke in February last year.
“I don’t expect to do any good but at least I’m participating. It’s all sort of good fun.
“I will be an also-ran. If I get a medal I’ll be lucky.
“It’s a healthy lifestyle.”
Burridge, a level two coach, earned his bronze medallion in 1955 and still manages four sessions of 2-3km swims in the pool each week.
He will not be the only one hoping to ‘get Yamba back on the map’.
Club coach Jim Dougherty tipped Lyteeka Currie, and Ethen and Liam Foster for big things in their Nippers events.
The absence of gun Yamba youngster Dylan Brown, who will miss the event through injury, will be offset by some in-form boat crews.
“We have got high hopes for some of our juniors,” Dougherty said.
“We expect them to go pretty well – they did well last year.
“It’s just the individual and team events we try and do well in. Our boat crews will be competitive.”
The state and national titles will be held in February and March respectively and Dougherty would love to see Yamba products on a bigger stage.
“It’s not a big team by comparison to clubs like Byron Bay,” he said.
“We haven’t set goals but it would be nice to come home with a few medals.”