Magnificent Minnie conquers main beach

TRICKY conditions and 40 other surf boat crews could not stop the Minnie Water-Wooli surf boat crew from successfully defending its open and reserve series titles at the final event of North Coast Surf Boat Series at Yamba on Saturday.

Surf boat crews representing a coastline stretching from Forster to Cudgen near the Queensland border, pulled their boats to the shoreline of Yamba's Main Beach ready to fight oar for oar in a number of divisions.

The Minnie Water-Wooli surf crew once again proved it had too much class and experience in both the open and reserve categories. The club took out the final of the open men's race on Saturday to clinch back-to-back season titles, while the reserve crew finished second behind Coffs Harbour on Saturday, which was good enough to accrue enough points over the season to claim its fourth title in a row.

Minnie Water-Wooli Surf Club president Tony Benfield said even though the club had trimmed back its series participation, its crews still performed to the high standards achieved over a number of years.

“Last year we had seven crews and won three divisions, but it was to full on and too hard to maintain,” he said.

“The crews still have fun though and are of the frame of mind you go out and do what you have to do. One of the rowers said 'you have to want to do it to win'.”

The conditions on Yamba's Main Beach did not make life easy for the competing crews, with the outgoing tide forming dumping waves over an underwater bank.

“It was pretty challenging in both going out through the waves and coming back in,” Benfield said.

“A lot of boats were rolling and going sideways.”

The Red Rock-Corindi crew found conditions difficult to navigate, with its long running sequence of 'unlucky' finals continuing.

“We had a first and a couple of thirds in the heats of the reserve and then got fifth in the final,” Red Rock-Corindi sweep Damien McSkimming said.

“We were unlucky and got tossed around a bit.

“We've just had bad luck in the finals, we haven't made a top four or five ... hopefully we can break it next season.”

Yamba Surf Club president Ray Burridge said hosting the final round of the prestigious series, which the club will do again next year, was an honour.

“A lot of people come to Yamba for the races,” he said.

“It's probably the largest boat series in Australia ... and you have a lot of clubs coming from big distances apart.”

Burridge said the Yamba crew had participated at the event, but noted the club was still 'building up with new teams'.

The series ended with an awards dinner at the Yamba Bowling Club with more than 240 people attending.

“It was a fantastic presentation night and it was a good way to end the year,” Benfield said.

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