Cudgen boys reap gold harvest
THE boys in budgie smugglers stood tall for Cudgen SLSC at the weekend.
Securing five individual gold and a wealth of team triumphs, the strong male contingent inspired the powerhouse Tweed Coasters to fifth place in the NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships at South West Rocks.
“It was an excellent effort from the whole team,” Cudgen president Gary Cain said.
“We didn’t have a lot of numbers down there so it was a particularly good effort to finish top five. It was a great start to the year and we’ve shown everyone that our guys are up there with the best.”
Nathan Sharp (under-17 male beach sprint, beach flags, open male beach sprint), Callum Smith (under-17 male rescue tube) and Scott McCartney (open male surf board) all returned home with gold medals draped around their bronzed necks.
Sharp also finished third in the open male beach flags, with Smith securing runner-up finishes in the under-17 male surf and surf board races, and third in the under-17 ironman.
The club’s most renowned competitor Jarrod Cain finished second in the blue ribbon open ironman and second in the open male surf race, while clubmate Rohan Small picked up a runner-up finish in the open male single ski and bronze in the open ironman.
Young Connor Patterson snared third in the under-17 male 2km beach run.
“Nathan’s a very good beach competitor,” Cain said.
“Callum, too, is another good young talent and he teamed with the open men in the taplin.”
Yet while the individual efforts were outstanding, it was as a team that Cudgen excelled, winning the open male single ski, surf board, surf board rescue and taplin relays, as well as the under-17 male beach relay and all-age surf teams event.
They also claimed silver in the open male beach relay, surf board rescue and open surf teams events, as well as third spot in the under-17 surf board and taplin relays.
“We dominated the male team events,” Cain said. “We easily won the majority of them.”
Although the women failed to medal, the men’s impressive medal haul was further complemented by a string of solid performances by bit the masters and juniors.
The women’s masters in particular showed up their male counterparts, with Janice Gielis taking out the over-60 female beach sprint and flags and finishing second in the ski. Jenifer Chastre won the 30-39 female surf race and Joanne Colja took second in the over-30 female 2km beach run.
The Cudgen women also won the 30-39 female rescue tube and came in third in the over-30 female board rescue.
Phil Klein was the sole male master to medal, taking third in the 50-59 male board race.
“We have a very strong men’s contingent in the open area, but lack females,” Cain said.
“And as you score points for lower placings in some races, that’s killed us a little.”
Fellow Tweed Coasters Cabarita Beach finished 36th with Ty-Michael Henrisson-Lopez picking up their only medal, a bronze in the under-14 male beach flags.
Byron Bay’s record 63 seniors and 52 nippers ensured they took top spot at the 1700-strong event, edging out Warilla Barrick Point, Port Macquarie and Shellharbour. Defending champions Lennox Head Alstonville finished sixth, with the points cumulative from nippers to masters following three days of individual and team events.
The big summer of surf lifesaving continues with the NSW state championships at Kingscliff in March and the Australian championships at Kurrawa in April.
“We’re looking good for state titles,” Cain said. “It will be nice to have it at home and we’re keen to show everyone what we’re made of.”