Close to 500 lifesavers from Port Douglas down to Hervey Bay will descend on Mackay this Friday and across the weekend, when they hit the surf and sand in search for glory at the 2017 North Australian Championships.
The annual Surf Life Saving event will see competitors from under-11 right through to opens and masters converge on Harbour Beach across three days to contest a wide range of events including beach flags, sprints, surf ski, surf boats, pool rescue, and the ironman and woman.
Surf Life Saving Queensland sports manager Stuart Hogben expects the competition to be fierce, as athletes of all ages battle it out for one of the prestigious titles up for grabs.
“North Aussies is one of the most prestigious lifesaving events on our sporting calendar each year and, in terms of sheer numbers, is the third largest carnival in the state behind our Senior and Junior Queensland Championships,” he said.
“Each and every year the Championships bring together almost 500 of our top surf lifesavers from north and central Queensland, and there’s no doubt in my mind that it will be a hotly contested event this year.
“Cairns will be out to win an incredible eight consecutive titles, but there will no doubt be a lot of other clubs who are keen to knock them off the perch.
“There’s plenty of pride on the line for an event like this and everyone wants to do well for their club and their region, so it will definitely be on for young and old,” he said.
The competition will kick off on Friday, 3 November, with the Champion Lifesaver, First Aid competition and high-octane IRB racing at Harbour Beach. The day will also include the pool rescue component at Memorial Swim Centre, which will see athletes take the skills they use on lifesaving patrols and transfer them into the pool in a competitive setting.
The action will continue at Mackay’s Harbour Beach on Saturday 3 November with junior, open and masters athletes set to compete in a full day of beach, board and ski events, battling it out for a spot in Sunday’s finals.
Surf boat action will also kick off on Saturday with a short-course event that afternoon, before normal championship racing on Sunday.