Yamba surf crew on way to champs
FOUR Yamba surf boaters are beginning a fundraising campaign to help get them to the Junior Surfboat World Championships.
Yamba Shores Tavern will host the fundraiser, with raffles and displays starting from noon on Sunday.
Sweep and coach Rodney McSkimmings said the club had prepared a big day.
"The crew will put on a boat rowing display while the club will do some demonstrations with their rescue boats," McSkimmings said.
"They'll also be out and about with a few raffles around Yamba between now and when they leave."
The crew of Sam Kapeen and Mark Adamson, both 18, and Michael Foulds and Andrew Bells, both 19, will compete at the Adelaide-hosted championships later this year.
McSkimmings said the crew was well prepared for the event, in which they'll use their new boat named after club legend Jim Saunders.
"They've been training hard for the past few months so they should be ready for it," McSkimmings said.
"Jim Saunders has been a great supporter of us, as well as the rest of the club, and we thought we'd show our thanks that way."
The crew have an exhaustive schedule as they compete in different events six weekends in a row.
The first stop will be Surfers Paradise where they will take part in the Navy Australian Surf Rowers League Series on the first weekend of November.
"After that we have a competition in Southport on the Gold Coast, then we head to the world titles from there," McSkimmings said.
"The boys will be flying over but I'll be driving 2000-odd kilometres with the boat."
Qualification for the world titles is a massive achievement for the Yamba crew, as they compete against crews almost five years their senior.
They have worked together for three years, and decided to move up to the under-23s competition to continue as a team.
"Last year they contested the under-18s division and performed really well," McSkimmings said.
"With two of the boys turning 19, they had to decide whether to split up and wait a year or to move up an age group.
"They chose the latter and will be better for it, especially in the long term."
With competitors from across the country, winning the world titles will be no easy feat.
Avoca Beach (NSW Central Coast), Alexandra Headland in Queensland and Western Australia's North Cottesloe are the title favourites, but the challenge doesn't faze the crew.
"They are very strong clubs with paid coaching staff and world-class facilities," McSkimmings said.
"We're the little guys of the competition but we're going to go over there and do our best."
McSkimmings praised the community for its support, saying the club could not survive without them.
"North Coast Heavy Towing and Yamba Golf and Country Club have got on board and are sponsoring the boat and oars," he said.
"We run on community support, so every little bit of help goes a long way."
For anyone who would like to show support, contact the Yamba Surf Life Saving Club or Rod McSkimmings on 0427 275 742.