Coffs Coast life savers covered in gold
THE Coffs Coast's three 'big' surf life saving clubs in Coffs Harbour, Sawtell and Woolgoolga all had a weekend to remember at Tacking Point during the 2009 Stramit NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships.
All three finished in the top 10 clubs on the overall pointscore and can now look forward to having several members competing at the State Championships next month at Swansea/Belmont.
While the weekend threw up plenty of youngsters who performed strongly such as Woolgoolga's Josh O'Brien and Gilbert Schweikert who took home a total of eight medals with first and seconds in the Under 13 Board events, it was a case of the more things change the more things stay the same.
Woolgoolga again dominated the surfboat events, Sawtell's Kayla Russell again proved herself as the queen of the board, while Sawtell and Coffs Harbour again fought a tense battle for honours in the junior march past.
Russell scored for herself gold medals in the Under 19 Surf and Board Race and Ski Relay as well as a silver in the Open Board.
Her talents and those of each competitor who took to the water came to the fore in the less than ideal conditions, especially when you consider that all of the water events were moved to nearby Flynn's Beach and the surfboat racing was also moved south to Wauchope-Bonny Hills while the beach events remained at Tacking Point. The gusting breeze and cold temperatures did nothing to cool down the white-hot Woolgoolga surfboat who won gold medals with their open, masters and under 23's crews.
Neil Baker was a member of all three crews and two of his victories were alongside his father, David.
The fact that the all of the surfboat finals were practically run back-to-back is further testament to the efforts of the Woopi boys.
As always Sawtell took tremendous pride from their victory in the junior march past and have earned themselves some bragging rights for the forseeable future by collecting the most points of all the local clubs in the overall score finishing in seventh place, one spot ahead of Coffs Harbour.
2009 Stramit NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships
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