Bay crews do well at 2021 NSW Open Surf Boats Championships

The 2021 NSW Surf Boat Championships were held at Swansea Belmont SLSC on 10-11 April.

After hazardous surf and weather conditions forced the cancellation of the Surf Boat event the weekend before, SLSNSW and host club Swansea Belmont were delighted to be able to welcome U19 through to Open crews back to Lake Macquarie for what turned out to be some fierce competition. The 2021 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships concluded with the high flying action of the surf boat competition, which was rescheduled after floods forced the event to be cancelled in March.

New state champions were crowned and the surf boat comp at Swansea Belmont wraps up the annual event, which was conducted over five weekends this year due to Covid restrictions. Great conditions greeted the crews on Saturday as the young guns took centre stage with racing in the Under 19 and Under 23 divisions. There was enough wave action to make for some challenging racing and a few spills, with many of the crews experiencing their first State Championships outing. The dominance of the Palm Beach contingent was clear from the outset and it was the steady hand of sweep Peter Spence that saw both the U23 Male and Female crews walk away with matching gold medals. The Palm Beach Panthers led the way throughout their final, capping off a great day for the crew. “The girls have been amazing, not just today but all season. This was a goal to get, we’ve won the Branch, won the ASRL and now just Aussies to go,” said Peter Spence. The crew was pleased that all the hard work paid off and is looking forward to having a good crack at an Australian title. “We’re feeling pretty solid, we’ve done the work, all we can do now is trust in Spencey and trust in what we’ve done to prepare.” The Palm Beach Plumbers came home first in similar style and both U23 crews are now ASRL and NSW Champions, with only the Australian titles to tick off the list. “The boys have been outstanding, they’ve done everything I’ve asked them to do, they’re just a brilliant crew, I love sweeping them. They deserve this, they’ve been rowing well all day and they do the work,” said Peter Spence. In the U19 divisions, wins came down to the wire, with the Avalon Beach Hueys probably the closest finish of the day. After the boys had a shocker of a morning with a spectacular nose-dive and rollover in the early rounds, they picked themselves up and regrouped to secure a place in the final, then the gold medal. “It’s pretty surreal, it was very, very close at the end,” said the boys. “There was nothing in it, we all came in together on that wave.” Sweep Pete Carter was relieved the crew were able to keep their cool. “The boys did awesome, we had a pretty crap start to the day, but they’ve come through adversity and killed it. I’m very proud of them.” After a slow start off the beach, South Curl Curl Bumps and Humps made up time to turn the cans first and power home for the win in the U19 Female race. Sweep Mark Spiteri said the girls did an amazing job to come home strong, catching a wave near the line to keep rivals Nth Cronulla and Avoca Beach working hard til the very end. Sunday saw the big guns hit the beach with racing in the Reserve and Open divisions. Flatter conditions and strong offshore winds made it hard work, although crews were just happy to be racing after a year of disruption and a patchy competition season due to Covid. It came down to the wire in the Reserve women’s final, with Sth Curl Curl’s Curly Girlies holding off the competition in fine style. Sweep Mark Spiteri was clearly happy with the result. “I’m so proud of these guys, they just fought all the way all day and had a bit to fight home at the end… just sensational.” Along with veteran sweep Grant Wilkinson from Elouera, Neil Innes from Batemans Bay was one of two sweeps who was in all four finals, emerging with gold in the Reserve Male final. The crew agreed Neil was always good at getting that extra five percent out of them. “He’s a great sweep. And it’s great that all the four AM starts are just kicking in,” said the crew. The Open Female division was run and won with an ecstatic Nth Cronulla Funky Chicks taking the prize. The crew said they were exhausted, but felt confident going into the final. With 50 metres to go and a clear lead, Sweep Mark McDonald wasn’t taking any chances with gold in sight and worked the girls hard. “I could see we were in a good spot and I just didn’t want to see anything coming through picking anyone else up,” he said. The final race of the 2021 NSW Surf Boat Championships was a demonstration of sheer power and form from the Open men’s crews. It was not a huge shock to see Bulli secure its eighth NSW Championship, winning back the title after losing narrowly to Batemans Bay in 2020. “I think we’re all a bit buggered, me included,” said sweep Shane Geloven. The crew clearly left nothing in the tank either. “It was really tight, us and Curly were pushing for that little runner right at the end and we did just enough to get over it. I can tell you there wasn’t much left,” they said. With the surfboats marking the final chapter of the NSW Championships hosted at Swansea Belmont SLSC, the event moves to Sydney’s Northern Beaches from 2022, where another generation of surfboat rowers will get the chance to go for glory and a coveted State title. SURF BOAT CHAMPIONSHIPS RESULTS U19 Female

  1. Sth Curl Curl Bumps and Humps

  2. Nth Cronulla BOFs

  3. Avoca She Wolves

  4. Collaroy RED

  5. Long Reef Sharlies

  6. Avalon Beach Alpacas

U19 Male


  1. Avalon Beach Hueys

  2. Nth Cronulla Bung Holes

  3. Sth Curl Curl Underdogs

  4. Bulli

  5. Collaroy Bruisers

  6. Palm Beach Pigs

U23 Female

  1. Palm Beach Panthers

  2. Mona Vale Drifters

  3. Wanda Wedges

  4. Nth Bondi Shredders

  5. Palm Beach Pandas

  6. Collaroy Blutos Angels

U23 Male

  1. Palm Beach Plumbers

  2. Sth Curl Curl Lamp

  3. Wanda Weapons

  4. Palm Beach Playboys

  5. Sth Curl Curl Sneaky Nuts

  6. Coogee Sons

Reserve Female

  1. Sth Curl Curl Curly Girlies

  2. Nth Narrabeen Lean Beans

  3. Windang Wenches

  4. Batemans Bay Phoenix

  5. Elouera Wilko

  6. Bulli


Reserve Male

  1. Batemans Bay A

  2. Avalon Beach Pinkies

  3. Nth Bondi Collegiate

  4. Newport

  5. Nth Cronulla Purds

  6. Elouera Wilko


Open Female

  1. Nth Cronulla Funky Chicks

  2. Coogee Recoverie

  3. Batemans Bay Baguettes

  4. Elouera Wilko

  5. Nth Narrabeen Has Beans

  6. Avoca Beach

Open Male

  1. Bulli

  2. Sth Curl Curl Death Riders

  3. Elouera Wilko

  4. Caves Beach Meat Trays

  5. Collaroy Garricks

  6. Batemans Bay A

Boat Relay

  1. Nth Cronulla Blue

  2. Sth Curl Curl

  3. Avalon Beach

  4. Palm Beach

  5. Mona Vale

  6. Wanda

  7. Nth Cronulla Gold


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