Ives' performance golden at NSW state titles
SURF LIFESAVING: While she might only be a pocket rocket in the sand, there is no doubting the size of the heart in Yamba nipper Kalani Ives.
Ives, 12, is on a quest to be the best, and she was kicking down the door once again at the weekend as she took all before her at the Surf Life Saving NSW State Championships.
Despite a tough finish outside the top six in her preferred Under 13 ironwoman event, Ives bounced back to top form in the board race, battling through the tough conditions at Blacksmith Beach to bring home the gold medal.
While she might give a head or two to her opponents on land, it counts for nothing in the water with Ives using her ocean nous to find the right waves at the right time and paddle over the top of the 150-strong field.
Yamba Surf Lifesaving Club sports director Jim Dougherty could not hide his excitement after finding out about the young nipper's achievement.
"It is a tremendous effort to win any medal at the state titles, let alone a gold,” Dougherty said. "It is very competitive at those championships, there would have been more than 150 girls in that event and she managed to overcome them all.
"It is definitely not often you get athletes the calibre of Kalani coming out of a bush club.”
It was a tough competition for the country clubs, with not a single one placing in the top 10 as Elouera SLSC broke Manly's eight-year winning streak at the state event.
In her other events, including the ironwoman, surf race and 1km beach run, Ives finished outside the top six, but Dougherty said it was impressive for her to even compete at the state championships level.
But her ability in the surf is no accident, with the nipper hitting the water every day for training under the watchful eye of dad Todd Ives.
Ives was not the only Yamba club member competing on the State stage this week, with masters challenger Peter Rheinberger tackling the NSW Masters state titles.
Competing in the 55-59 years age group, Rheinberger finished second in the surf race, third in the rescue tubes and fourth in the board race.