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North Coast life savers among the medals at championships

SPLASH: Sawtell surf life saver Tahlia Kollen made a brilliant start to the competitive season by winning gold. Photo: Stephen Chu
SPLASH: Sawtell surf life saver Tahlia Kollen made a brilliant start to the competitive season by winning gold. Photo: Stephen Chu

TWO GOLD and two bronze medals were in the luggage of North Coast Surf Lifesavers following the NSW Interbranch championships held at Swansea and Catherine Hill Bay.

Liam Nisbet of Bellinger Valley-North Beach SLSC caused a huge upset on day one by knocking out the more favoured city slickers to win the under-14 beach sprint.

His win was followed by Tahlia Kollen representing Sawtell, who took gold in the under-17 surf race.

Bronze medals went to Ky Kinsela (Sawtell) in under-15 ironperson and Jedd Mitchell (Coffs Harbour) in under-17 flags.

North Coast finished ninth of 11 regions on the scoreboard with 453 points.

Sydney Northern Beaches claimed the overall championship title ahead of Sydney and Central Coast.

The young competitors were a brave bunch to face huge seas that caused the first day's events to be switched from Catherine Hill Bay to Swansea.

The move was achieved with a minimum of fuss, and competitors were greeted with consistent wave sets, blue skies, and some red-hot competition.

For the regional branches the Interbranch titles were again a chance to test

themselves against their metropolitan rivals before next month's Country championships.

Far North Coast dominated the point score, taking home the Country Cup for the second consecutive year after finishing fifth overall.

South Coast and the Mid North Coast rounded out the minor placings in the country category.

Surf Life Saving NSW sports manager Shane Knight was delighted with the success of the carnival.

"While we would have liked to complete the carnival at Catherine Hill Bay, the reality of surf sports means that safety must always come first," he said.

Topics:  surf lifesaving