Nathan Gray in action in a board event. Gray will represent Cudgen in the NSW Country Championships at South West Rocks starting today.
Nathan Gray in action in a board event. Gray will represent Cudgen in the NSW Country Championships at South West Rocks starting today.

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CUDGEN are set to be the big improvers after picking up Lennox Head trio Nathan Gray, Madison Beckerleg and Ellie Leaver aheadof the NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships at South West Rocks.

The three-day carnival will start today with Gray set to bolster Cudgen in the team events.

The 19-year-old made the move north after he was the only competitor in the open division for Lennox Head at the start of the season.

"I'm friends with the guys in the open division at Cudgen and I thought it would be fun to join them," Gray said.

"I've competed at this level before but I'm still a bit nervous because I want to go well."

The Country Championships is the only event on the calendar to feature a full range of events including surf boats as well as all age divisions from Under-8s through to masters.

Byron Bay is fielding the largest team again and will look to defend their title with Josh Brown, Conor Moriarty and Shannon Hulbert-Green among their best.

Lennox Head will also have a strong presence with India Brown, Hannah Sculley and Murray Thomas expected to perform well.

The absence of Sydney, Newcastle and Illawarra clubs from the titles helps make it a more relaxed carnival.

"The competition is strong, but it's a more laidback and fun atmos- phere," NSW surf sports manager Chris Parker said.

"It's a great atmosphere and it's a real social event too.

"It's rare that nippers can compete in the morning and watch their parents in the masters events later in the afternoon."

The big summer of surf lifesaving continues with the NSW State championships at Kingscliff and the Australian championships at Kurrawa on the Gold Coast in March.



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