More than 1,500 nippers go for gold at State Champs

A wave of nippers will hit the Sunshine Coast this weekend for Surf Life Saving Queensland’s Youth State Championships at Maroochydore Beach across three days from March 20-22.

Almost 1,500 of the sport’s top competitors from Port Douglas in North Queensland right down through to Rainbow Bay on the southern Gold Coast will contest the championships, which remain the pinnacle sporting event for all junior lifesavers aged 11-15 years old.

The youngsters will compete against each other in a variety of lifesaving disciplines including the iron events, surf race, surf board paddle, beach sprints and flags.

Surf Life Saving Queensland surf sports manager Stuart Hogben said it was great to see so many youngsters lining up to compete across the weekend.

“Surf lifesaving’s all about getting in there and giving it your best shot. Participation is such a big part of surf lifesaving and that’s what makes this such a great event – it allows youngsters from all over the state to come together and put their skills to the test against other kids their age,” he said.

“The Youth State Championships are a great training ground for young competitors who may one day want to be the next Courtney Hancock or Ky Hurst but, more importantly, it’s also a great way to keep kids motivated and help keep them involved in the surf lifesaving movement.

“At the end of the day, not only do we want to encourage kids to lead an active and healthy lifestyle, but we also want to keep lifesavers on the beaches,” he said.

At last year’s Championships, it was Gold Coast’s Northcliffe who took the overall honours by the barest of margins, holding off a fast-finishing Maroochydore by just one point.

As part of the official proceedings of this year’s event, Surf Life Saving Queensland will present the winner of the Breaka Under-14 Junior Surf Lifesaver of the Year award on Saturday afternoon of the Championships.

The winner is judged on a range of criteria, including their contribution to their club, attendance and participation at training, sporting achievements in surf lifesaving, surf lifesaving knowledge and general attitude and commitment.

The Queensland Youth Surf Life Saving Championships kicks on Friday 20 March and concludes on Sunday 22 March. Action on the beach will kick off from 8:00am each day, with Sunday the main finals day.

The Championships kicks off an action-packed fortnight of surf lifesaving in Queensland, with the state’s top competitors set to hit Maroochydore Beach the following weekend for the senior competition (March 27-29).

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