State of belonging
LAST year he was the star-struck tyro - now talented surf lifesaver Josh Brown is ready to make some head-lines.
The Byron Bay-based representative has been called up for the NSW side for the 2013 Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) Interstate Championships next month.
It is the second consecutive year the 16-year-old will represent his state at the tournament, which will feature talented competitors from across the country.
Having enjoyed his first experience of the competition, Brown is looking forward to testing his skills again.
"It was a big honour," he said.
"There are guys you look up to and want to be like - and now you are there with them.
"It was a bit overwhelming but most of them were really friendly and welcome you into the group.
"I feel a bit more relaxed and have a sense of belonging (at the competition).
"That will help me be a bit more relaxed and more focused on the competition.
"It should be good."
Byron Bay Surf Life Saving Club member Brown, who attends Trinity Catholic College in Lismore, earned his place with solid performances at events through the year.
States and territories will contest the two-day event, which will be split between Newport Beach and the Sydney Aquatic Centre.
A participant in the sport since the age of seven, Brown, who patrols Byron Bay's Main Beach, admitted selection had been an unexpected boost.
"I wasn't expecting to get in this year," he said.
"It was a nice surprise (to be called up).
"I have enjoyed surf lifesaving. It makes you feel like you are doing a community service and you get to make friends along the coast as well."
Brown confirmed his selection after another accomplished display for his Far North Coast branch side at the 2012 NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships.
The state's most talented young surf lifesavers took part in the event at Black Head Beach near Forster last weekend.
Sydney's Northern Beaches took top spot, with FNC finishing seventh.
The event was a useful warm-up for next year's state titles at Ocean Beach on the Central Coast.
Far North Coast competitor Hannah Sculley was celebrating after winning the Under-14 ironperson and securing third in the board.
Fellow branch member Luke Chaffer, from Cudgen Headland, was second in the Under-15 ironman and third in the surf race.
Ballina's Mahli Borham came third in theUnder-13 female flags.
Brown, who is also an associate member of the Lennox Head Surf Life Saving Club, thanked his family and everyone who has assisted him.