CUDGEN Headland open board relay team looked the goods to win gold at the Allphones NSW State Open Championships at Kingscliff Beach yesterday but lady luck, as she generally does, played her part.
Local lads Jarad Cain, Nathan Gray and Scott McCartney must have used up all their good luck in the semi-final.
Cain, the first of the three paddlers, was behind the lead pack but Gray put in a powerful display to bring his team within striking distance of the leaders.
McCartney then hammered his way through the one-metre surf to win the semi and clinch his team's qualification for the final which was held 30 minutes later.
Redhead, from the Hunter Branch, was the best away in the final and the locals were again asked to come from behind.
Gray once more lifted his team to within striking distance of a podium finish.
He shaved off seven places in his paddle and McCartney was in the hunt for a decent finish and a possible medal but in the wave zone is where luck deserted the hometown boys.
"It's a pain in the arse," McCartney said after the final.
"Jarad had a bit of bad luck on the way out, Nathan got a good run out and then I was about equal third and then a wave came."
McCartney and Mark Simpson, from Cronulla, fought out for fourth place but the Cronulla dynamo had the better line to the last turning flag on the beach and relegated the Cudgen boys to fifth.
"Probably a good result in the end," McCartney offered but his eyes told a different story - one of hurt over a medal gone begging.
Competition for places in finals continues today with the Far North Coast branch well represented across the five surf arenas, the beach and boat arenas.
Surf lifesavers from under-15 to open age will battle each other, the elements and Queenslanders for those elusive gold medals.
Byron Bay teenager Ela Heiniger is one of many in the 15s surf area on the southern end of the water arena that has plenty on her plate.
Last year, competing for the Brunswick club, she won a bronze medal in the under-15 tube race but has moved to the tricolours to compete in individual and team events.
The bronze is reportedly Brunswick's first national medal.
The 15-year-old faces qualifying rounds for the board rescue, tube and board races today as well as the final of the board relay.
"The waves are great ... I'm having fun," she said. "Our teams are going well."
Her future appears bright and with the elite women younger than their male counterparts in the Nutri-Grain series, Ela has an eye on being an elite ironwoman.
"There's a lot of hard work to do but with the girls so young, to get in to the Nutri-Grain series would be good," she said.