Veteran boat crews are well prepared
TWO crews from the Evans Head-Casino Surf Life Saving Club will compete in the country's biggest surf boat carnival next week.
The Navy Australian Open will be held at Stockton in Newcastle over three days from next Friday.
It is the culmination of 28 events across Australia.
More than 400 crews are involved, with 2000 volunteer surf lifesavers from more than 100 surf clubs around Australia.
They are competing for individual glory as well as a state-versus-state series of races.
Evans Head-Casino will have two teams competing - the Masters 180 years men and the Masters 160 years men.
Stuart Thomson said they had been putting in a lot of work to get ready for the event.
"This is massive," he said.
"We train all year, basically. We're also members of the Lismore Rowing Club, so we train in still water as well as in the surf.
"The 180s are the current world masters champions.
"The 160 crew came second to Mooloolaba at the championships last year.
"It's hard to say how we'll go in Stockton, but our chances are good as both crews have been training solidly and have posted good results at the recent country championships.
"We also have Peter Hickey sweeping/steering the crews, and he's regarded in the sport as one of the best surfboat sweeps in the country.
"But we're up against clubs like Austinmer and the big Sydney clubs.
"And it all depends on the surf conditions on the day.
"I've been in boats where you're coming first, then a bad wave will come along and two boats will pass you."
Thomson said the Evans Head-Casino crews were looking forward to racing.
"It's very competitive, but it's also a lot of fun," he said.
"We're in it for the fun."
The 180 years boat crew consists of Peter Hickey, Brett Farmer, Michael Robson, Simon Hyder and Jamie Brown.
In the 160 years crew are Stuart Thomson, Peter Hickey, John Lisetto, Nick Rose and Michael Russell.