Maroochydore has come from 90 points behind overnight to claim back-to-back titles at the Queensland Youth Surf Life Championships on the Gold Coast.
The club finished the three-day carnival on 283 points to take out the championships ahead of close rivals Alexandra Headland (240 points) and Northcliffe (216).Currumbin and Sunshine Beach rounded out the top five.
Alex Heads entered the third and final day with a sizeable lead, but a dominant performance by Maroochydore nippers in the challenging surf conditions proved the difference in the end.
Sunday saw the under-11 and under-12 water events shifted further south to North Kirra in the interests of safety, while officials suspended events at North Burleigh for almost an hour off the back of the rough surf conditions.
However, it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the 1,750 nippers competing, nor the momentum of Maroochydore who came home with a wet sail on the final day of competition.
Alex Heads entered the day hoping to build on its lead, and they looked on track for an overall victory after taking out the under-13 female beach flags, under-13 male beach relay and the under-14 female surf board rescue.
But Maroochydore turned the tide on its close rival, with a raft of strong performances in the surf securing the club a second consecutive victory at the prestigious event.
The club’s older competitors led from the front, with Tiarnee Massie taming the challenging conditions to win the under-15 surf race and ironwoman finals. The club made it a double in the iron events when Hayden Cotter took out the under-15 ironman final.
In other results, Jacob Spark from Emu Park took home a gold medal in the under-15 rescue tube race, ahead of Ken Hart from Noosa and Harrison Wacker from BHMP.
Pacific SLSC also had cause for celebration, with Cameron Lang winning the under-13 beach flags ahead of North Queensland’s Aidan Menzies and Fraser Toon from Point Lookout.
It was a golden day for the North Barrier Branch team, takin gout the under-15 two person Rescue and Resuscitation, while Callum Street won the under-15 beach sprint.
Lachlan Alleyne from Bribie Island won the under-15 male beach flags, and the club also prevailed in the under-15 beach relay.
Reflecting on the win, Maroochydore junior activities chairman Kirk Jarratt said it had been a great team performance from the club.
“The kids did really well – full credit to them, it’s their win. They’ve trained and performed really well for the whole year, and they’ve done exceptionally well over the past few days,” he said.
“There are so many good clubs and teams in the surf association, so it’s definitely nice to win.
“We’ve got our processes in place and we’ve got a good nipper program at the club, and hopefully that can continue for the next couple of years.
“If we get first this year and second or third next year that would be great, but as long as the kids are happy and having fun, then that’s the main thing at the end of the day,” he said.
Despite some disruptions to the competition schedule, SLSQ sport manager Stuart Hogben said it had been a great three days of action.
“It’s always disappointing when we have to delay or suspend competition as a result of the conditions, but we’ve said all along that the safety of our competitors is the number one priority,” he said.
“On the whole, we’ve seen some fantastic performances across the entire three days of competition, and I wish to congratulate Maroochydore for winning the overall point score for the second year in a row.
“These kids are the future of surf lifesaving, and it’s been great to see 1,750 youngsters from all corners of Queensland out there having a red hot go,” he said.
The focus now shifts to the senior and open Queensland Surf Life Saving Championships next weekend at North Burleigh, where the state’s top ironmen and women will take to the water for three days of racing (March 18-20).