Byron back in top spot
THE Far North Coast’s top surf life saving competitors will be hoping to hit top form this weekend when the NSW championships are held at Swansea-Belmont in Newcastle.
The carrot is the national championships on the Gold Coast in March.
At least 250 senior participants and a smattering of juniors competed in the FNC senior branch championships at Lennox Head at the weekend, with the Byron Bay club taking top spot (618 points) from Lennox Head (562) and Cudgen Headland (304).
The junior events were the Under-13s and Under-14s, held over from two weeks ago due to bad weather.
The Far North Coast clubs – Ballina-Lismore, Brunswick, Byron Bay, Cabarita, Cudgen Headland, Evans Head, Fingal, Lennox Head-Alstonville, Salt and Yamba – will put in a good showing in Newcastle, FNC spokesman John Watson said.
Lennox Head are NSW Country junior surf life saving champions after winning the title at South West Rocks in January.
Byron Bay finished second and Cudgen fourth.
“We’re the strongest branch and biggest branch in country NSW and our clubs are pretty strong,” Watson said.
“A strong contingent from the clubs will compete (in Newcastle) and this carnival was the ideal warm-up.”
Brisbane Broncos-bound Jay Meaney, who will join the NRL club’s elite player development squad this year, showed his skill on the beach with three firsts for Byron Bay – in the Under-15 flags, sprint and rescue tube.
Nathan Gray, who starred for Lennox Head at South West Rocks, won the Under-19 board event for his club.
And Lennox’s Madison Blue Beckerleg scored three firsts in the Under-17 female surf, board and ironwoman events.
The State age championships at Newcastle will be held this weekend (February 19-21); the weekend after it is the Masters titles (February 25) and then the inter-club championships (February 26-28).
The national surf life saving championships will be held at Kurrawa Beach, Breadbeach, on the Gold Coast from March 16 to 21.