Surf life saving competitors from the Woolgoolga club set the scene for the NSW Country branch championships which run from tod
Surf life saving competitors from the Woolgoolga club set the scene for the NSW Country branch championships which run from tod

Surf life saving Mecca

By GREG WHITE

WOOLGOOLGA will be bursting at the seams from today until Sunday when more than 1500 surf lifesavers from 40 clubs around the state descend on the beach for the New South Wales country branch titles.

And, that's just competitors.

A total of 810 juniors (under 8 to under 14 years) and 770 opens and masters (15 years and over) have nominated for the weekend.

Surf club spokesperson Les Pepper expects between 3000 and 4000 friends and supporters of the athletes to be hovering around the ocean precinct for one of the biggest events to ever hit town.

"It's very rare to include juniors on the same program as the seniors, but this time, we're doing it," he said.

"Also, the veterans will be taking part making this an enormous carnival."

Surf sports officer of SLSNSW, Daniel Pearce, has promised a spectacular three day aquatic festival that will be as attractive for sightseers as it will be for athletes.

"The ironman and ironwoman events on day one (Friday) are probably the blue ribbon highlights of the carnival," Pearce said, "with the craft carnival and beach sprints on Saturday, not far behind."

Presentations will be made following each event with a special award to the Champion Club made on Sunday at the completion of the carnival.

Asked to nominate his choice for top club, Pearce settled on a group of five.

"Of the locals, host club Woolgoolga will find most competition from Coffs Harbour.

"As to the visitors, a toss up between Byron Bay, Cudgen Headland and Warilla from the south coast."

Organisers have split the beach into three sections to encourage smooth sailing for each event.

"The sections will be clearly signposted and plenty of programs will be about so spectators can easily find the events they're keen to watch," Pearce explained.

"Section one will be on the northern end and it will descend from there.

"To simplify matters, junior events will generally centre on sections one and two, with opens and veterans on section three."

In addition, a limited number of small concessions will be on the beach supplying T shirts and souvenirs while a demonstration event will be held during Saturday morning.

"To highlight surf safety, we'll hold a rescue and resuscitation event so the public can see how it's done," Pearce said.

"Overall, we want to show people what the movement is about as regards to safety and enjoyment around the water, as well as having a good time watching the sporting aspects of each event."

Competition each day is timed to begin from 8am.



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