Local juniors chasing gold
THE best of the state’s junior surf sports competitors will hit the Tweed today.
Junior surf life savers aged eight to 14 will go head to head at the 2011 Allphones NSW Surf Life Saving Championships at Kingscliff Beach on the Far North Coast until Sunday.
Local club’s Minnie Water Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) and Yamba SLSC will dispatch their youngsters to the event.
Minnie Water president Tony Benfield said five of his juniors would compete this weekend, including the talented Sam Young and Brittany Hegedus.
Benfield said he held high hopes for competitors.
“Competitors will need to keep an eye out for them, they are both talented on the beach,” he said.
Benfield said he had three inexperienced competitors going in the event – but they were up for the challenge.
“They haven’t competed before; this will be good exposure for them,” Benfield said.
Yamba’s nippers’ co-ordinator Kim McFarlane said 26 of her nippers were heading to the championships.
“For the first time, in a long time, we have a March Past team that is looking good,” she said.
“Out of the 26 nippers, 12 of them are in this team, nine are physically involved and three are participating in the event.
“We also have an under-12s beach relay team in good contention.”
McFarlane listed stand out nipper Jordan Elabbassi as a competitor to keep an eye on in the board-paddling event.
Yamba recently had many competitors winning the Branch title in January at South West Rocks.
McFarlane said it was not an easy thing to get a medal and to have won quite a few had definitely boosted the club’s confidence.
The NSW Surf Life Saving Championships attracts tens of thousands of people to the Tweed region during March.
Interest in surf sports has grown consistently in NSW in recent years.
This year’s State Championships is expected to attract almost 8000 competitors, including some from southern clubs in Queensland.
SLS NSW CEO Phil Vanny said healthy competition among members was good news, both for the sport itself and for the organisation’s rescue and beach safety capabilities.
“Members of the Cudgen Headland SLSC are looking forward to welcoming athletes and visitors from around the state to what is sure to be a world-class sporting event,” he said.
Junior athletes will kick-start a bumper two weeks of competition in surf sports.
The senior surf lifeasving championships for Masters and Open competitors will start the following Thursday, from March 17-20.