Evans Head keep it calm
By JAMIE BROWN
EVANS HEAD–Casino surfboat crews relished conditions at last Saturday’s Queensland Cup round, winning every race and the final in the masters division and placing third in the reserves.
It appears technical training and aerobic conditioning gained as a result of flatwater work with Lismore Rowing Club’s John Power and Peter Wallace has paid dividends.
As an example, the club’s reserve crew of Danny Lickiss, Nick Rose, Trent Brown and Chris Snel fought back from a first round loss to win the repechage and went on to finish within a boat length of first in the final, bringing their total number of races for the day to five.
Competition at Tugun was moved to the more protected North Kirra because of severe beach erosion.
Veteran Ballina sweep Darcy Morrow noted the day was marred by a biased starting line-up that favoured the northern end all day long.
But the event still attracted some of the best Queensland has to offer, with crews travelling from as far as Gladstone and Bundaberg including several from the Sunshine Coast.
Brunswick Heads capitalised on its terrific Country Titles open division win the week before, returning to the surf to make the finals of the reserves.
Brunswick sweep Stewart White said conditions at Tacking Point, site of the NSW Country Titles, were challenging with a horrendous close-out shorebreak mixed with a big, surfable wave further out.
The open division final was easily won by his crew with not a single back-hand, but when it came to the Under-19 men’s final, a set of big waves arrived
Stewart doesn’t mind putting his young charges on the face of a big wave. And when he popped the pin out of the sweep oar rowlock he jury-rigged the affair with a length of plastic rope.
But polypropylene is no match for stainless steel and when the rope parted Brunswick’s boat slewed out of control into the surf zone and dove over one close-out set to claim the dusting of the day!
Brunswick’s crew did recover from that effort to do well at North Kirra to place fourth in the Under-19 men’s division, with Dean and Trent Richardson, Sam Condie and Sam Martin against some of the country’s best up and coming surf rowers.
Byron also performed well last weekend, with its Under-23 women’s crew to finish third in the final. However, they were unlucky with their open women’s crew who failed to make the cut after the round robin, despite achieving two thirds and a second! Other Byron crews rowing on the day were a masters crew, reserves and Under-23 men.
Ballina competed in the open division, against the best of the best, with its crew of James Rix, Brad Lyons, Peter Rodziewicz and Paul Shepherd, swept by Graeme Gordon.
The competition schedule ahead of the NSW State titles in early March and the Nationals in early April will ramp up with another Qld Cup competition this Saturday at Broadbeach, which may be moved to North Kirra because of beach erosion.
Ballina will also mix it with some of the best in Australia and New Zealand at the Australian Surf Rowers’ League Open at Stockton Beach, Newcastle from February 8-10.