Sea unleashes fury at surf champs

Woolgoolga's under-19 surf boat crew fell victim to the tough conditions.
Woolgoolga's under-19 surf boat crew fell victim to the tough conditions.

WOOLGOOLGA surf boat crews struck trouble in the big seas off the Gold Coast and missed out on finals during the Australian surf championships.

After wrapping up the club championship from the North Coast surf boat series the previous week, Woopi took six boat crews on tour for the full nine days and launched a furious assault on the nationals.

However, senior member Trevor Clark reported the ocean returned serve with a fury of its own.

“We started out with masters on the first weekend and got an early indication of our prospects when the ocean went wild,” he said.

“Luckily there was no damage to the boats but the crews were really knocked about.

“The damage was to come a few days later.”

The 160 crew made it through three rounds but was eliminated in the quarter-finals and it took a pounding from two huge waves in the final round for the 200 crew to discover their campaign would be going no further.

The reserve crew completed five gruelling rounds before being knocked out in their last race, only for club members to watch helplessly as their best chance of victory, in the under-19s, was dashed in brutal fashion.

“We were going well in the first two rounds but a huge wave right out the back hit them hard, driving the boat back and then end for end,” Clark said.

“Unfortunately it broke off the back where the sweep oar mounts but, showing determination, the crew righted the boat.

“After getting the gear back on board they negotiated the break around the buoys and returned to the beach with no steering – only to be 30 seconds out of time, ending their campaign.”

The final disappointment arrived when the open men and women were eliminated.

Clark said all crews gave everything against the best in Australia and New Zealand and were up with the leaders at all times.

“But lady luck totally deserted us and dealt cruel blows at crucial times.

“We’ll learn from the campaign and return next year stronger and hungrier and, after no luck this time, we will have plenty to use next season.”

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