Medals on the Board
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
THERE might not have been any gold medals brought back from last weekend's Westpac NSW Age Surf Life Saving Championships but that doesn't mean that the two medal winning teams from the North Coast contingent left Cronulla's Bate Bay beaches disappointed.
Coffs Harbour's under 12 board relay team are the toast of the North Coast branch after Tyler Partland, Kyle Beavis and Patrick Harrington worked overtime to collect a silver medal behind the Terrigal team.
A bronze medal from a Sawtell trio caused just as much excitement among the branch team.
Lillian Dellar, Jazmin MacMillan and India Hancock showed that they'd made the transition to the larger boards after grabbing their medal in the under 14 board relay.
"We weren't really sure how we'd go this year with starting out on new boards," anchor leg paddler Lillian Dellar said.
"The last two years we've been on the short boards and changed to the long board this year. With the change some of the girls have been getting faster and some girls couldn't quite get it."
The Sawtell team was in medal contention throughout the final thanks to a strong start from India Hancock and as the race was nearing it's exciting conclusion the Sawty girls were a chance of gold as Dellar found herself in a neck and neck battle with the girls from Redhead and Copacobana.
In flat conditions any extra advantage was going to be more than welcome and it was at this late stage of the race that Redhead were fortunate enough to ride a small wave in that meant the difference between victory and defeat.
Locked in a two-way battle for the silver medal, the excitement generated by both spectators and fellow competitors was enormous.
"India and I were screaming with everything we had as was everyone else on the team, even those from other clubs like Coffs and Woopi," McMillan said.
"When I finished my paddle I was pretty sure we were going to get a medal and when we did, all of girls hugged on the line we were so excited, it was so funny."
The excitement was understandable considering the trio finished fourth last year to only just miss out on a medal.
Finishing barely a whisker behind Copacobana after Dellar was given a decent shove rounding the final flag during the sprint home, the three girls didn't care less about their third place finish.
By all reports not one of them couldn't have worn a broader smile during the medal presentation ceremony if they had of received gold medals.