FNC Surf Life Saving did a ‘smash and grab’ of gold medals in the boating arena of the Queensland State championships at the weekend.
For the first time in years the event was held at the notorious Kurrawa Beach on the Gold Coast, where a chaotic sea and sizeable swell above 2m made mince meat of several dozen sweep oars and in one race broke Maroochydore’s surf boat in two.
From last Friday when the masters crews competed, medals fell swiftly to clubs from south of the border.
Evans Head-Casino’s crew of Peter Hickey, John Lisetto, Simon Hyder, Dick Fulwood and Stuart Thomson claimed gold in the 160 years combined division while Cudgen-Kingscliff’s crew of Mark Buckman, Peter Quinlan, Robert Blyth, Doug Fewtrell and Rob Harries claimed gold in the 180 years division.
Yesterday, after battling heavy seas and treacherous conditions for two days and seven races, the Evans Head-Casino reserve crew of Peter Hickey, Trent Brown, Kiel Handcock, Nick Rose and Danny Lickiss surprised the heavyweight clubs by claiming gold ahead of Currumbin and Mooloolaba in wild conditions.
Mooloolaba’s reserve crew was swept by Grant Cooper, whose family was well known at Yamba Surf Club before moving north.
Also competing in the reserve division was the Byron Bay crew of Neil Cameron, Dan Andrews, Shannon Eberhard, Michael Stevens and Nick Hornery, making it into the semi-finals before bowing out in the tough conditions.
Crews will return to Kurrawa from March 17 to 21 in the hope of claiming more gold when the surf lifesaving national titles return to the difficult beach for the first time since 2006.