Nippers battle it out at branch titles
A LARGE contingent of nippers from across the region turned out for the Far North Coast junior branch titles at Yamba on the weekend.
Competitors aged 14 and under took part in a full day of individual events on Saturday before the carnival finished with team events on Sunday.
It has been a busy month of surf lifesaving with some FNC competitors representing NSW Country and interbranch teams at state titles.
The focus now switches to the NSW Country Championships at Cudgen next month.
Under the terms of the agreement with Surf Life Saving NSW, the club will host the event for the next two years.
It will end a 15-year absence from FNC beaches with the last Country Championships taking place at Kingscliff in 2003.
Since that time Byron Bay and Cudgen have emerged as two of the strongest clubs in country NSW, engaging in some memorable battles with Lennox Head.
Cudgen has been pointscore champions the past two years while Byron Bay had a strangle hold on it for many years beforehand.
Surf Life Saving NSW surf sport manager Rob Pidgeon said Cudgen mounted a compelling case during the bidding process last year.
"They have a fantastic beach at Kingscliff and the redevelopment on the foreshore will give the opportunity for spectators to enjoy the atmosphere of the championships,” Pidgeon said. "It's an opportunity for our country athletes to compete at an elite level in the lead-up to the state and Australian championships.
"We are excited to be in partnership with Cudgen and acknowledge the essential support provided by the Tweed Shire Council in delivering this important event for our members.
"We are confident it will give a boost to the local economy with an estimated 1500 competitors, officials and supporters expected to make the journey.”
He also noted the experience the club has had in hosting major carnivals would play an important part in ensuring the success of the event.
"The club has a strong track record of delivering major events, and I am sure that the 2019 Country Championships will add to that long and distinguished history,” he said.
There will be 35 NSW surf clubs represented by more than 1300 surf lifesavers, who will compete across all divisions from under 8s through to masters at the championships.
The titles will be held on February 2-3.