Ela in golden performance
BYRON BAY competitor Ela Heiniger exceeded expectations when she won gold in the Under-15 ironwoman event at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships.
Ela finished ahead of Jessica Suriano (North Bondi) and Peggy Harris (Noosa Heads) at North Kirra on the Gold Coast on Sunday.
The 15-year-old competed in seven events and also claimed third place in the Under-15 board.
"She's been performing well but we weren't expecting that result," her father Ian said.
"To win a gold and bronze at the Aussies is far and away her best achievement in the sport.
"She won four medals at the State championships this year but not in the events she was hoping for."
Ela won a bronze medal in the rescue tube last year as a nipper competing up a division in the Under-15s.
It is her first year at the Byron Bay club after doing all her nippers at Brunswick Heads.
Unfortunately the 2012 Australian championships will be remembered for the death of 14-year-old Sunshine Coast competitor Matthew Barclay, who drowned during competition at Kurrawa last Wednesday.
"The concern was for him and his family more than anything else," Ian Heiniger said.
"We didn't know what was going to happen and it hit everyone pretty hard."
Josh Brown was another standout for Byron Bay, finishing third in the Under-15 ironman.
He won silver in the Under-15 swim and bronze in the rescue tube.
Josh was also part of the cameron relay team that claimed silver. The team also included Shaun Sewell, Brad Kay and Alex Byrne.
Cudgen duo Scott McCartney and Jarrad Cain finished behind Avoca Beach competitors Chris Parker and Daniel Shade to claim silver in the open men's board rescue.
Former Yamba junior Hugh Dougherty came second in the open ironman which was taken out by Northcliffe's Shannon Eckstein.
Cudgen competitor Nathan Gray finished eighth in the event.
Former Byron Bay surf lifesaver Brodie Moir finished second in the open board.
Moir now competes at North Burleigh while Lennox Head prodigy Tanyn Lyndon is at Northcliffe.
He was part of the open taplin relay team that finished second.