Dougherty wants to win memorial race to honour Lollback
JACOB Lollback Memorial Board Race Day takes pride of place as one of Yamba Surf Life Saving Club's premier events.
Many competitors across the Far North Coast branch use it as the first hit-out of the season.
More than that, it holds a special place in many Clarence Valley hearts, a day when friends and family come together to remember Lollback.
For Yamba ironman Hugh Dougherty, it is a day to celebrate the life of a mate taken too soon.
"It means quite a lot to me," Dougherty said.
"I grew up with him and trained with him. We lived together when he moved up to the Gold Coast as well.
"Jacob knew a lot of these guys when he lived up there."
Lollback was a rising star on the board race scene. He won three consecutive Australian titles and was widely recognised as the country's best paddle boarder.
On September 22, 2009 he drowned in a diving accident.
The inaugural Jacob Lollback Memorial Board Race Day was in 2010, but the 2011 event is one that will stick with Dougherty.
"I've been in a sprint finish for all three so far but I won it in 2011," Dougherty said.
"That was pretty special.
"It would be great to win it again for him but it won't be easy."
Yamba's Alyce Bennett will also return to town for Saturday's event, with fellow Surf Ironwoman Series Courtney and Bonnie Hancock also competing.
They will be among about 200 entrants, with the first scheduled to start at 10am.