The Ocean Beach/Umina stretch of sand is set to host some of the world’s best male and female surf sports gladiators this weekend at the 2014 NSW Surf Life Saving Open’s Championships supported by ClubsNSW.
From March 7-9, over 2500 Open’s athletes from over 90 surf clubs across NSW including superstars such as Ironmen Kendrick Louis (Newport), Nathan Smith (Manly) and Dane Farrell (Elouera), Ironwomen Naomi Flood (Manly) and Hannah Minogue (Bulli) as well as local World Champion Lachlan Tame (Avoca).
The Open’s Championships is the premier weekend of Australia’s biggest surf lifesaving competition running over four weekends and featuring over 8000 athletes and 15,000 spectators bringing in an estimated $15 million to the Central Coast region.
Coming off a big overall win for the club last weekend in the Age Championships, Manly LSC is also looking good to defend its 2013 Open Championships title with a line-up that includes NSW Champions Nathan Smith, Naomi Flood, Georgia Miller, Rachel Crerar and Mieke Kassullke to name a few.
Fellow Sydney rival surf clubs, Elouera and Newport, are also fielding formidable squads including Dane Farrell, Alex Clarke and Joshua Cassidy for Elouera while Newport have Max Brooks, Jonah Beard, Mitchell Trim as well as the much hyped return of Kendrick Louis from QLD.
Central Coast surf clubs will likely be well represented on the podium with a number of local superstars competing including Lachlan Tame (Avoca), Jack Moyes (Terrigal), Riley Fitzsimmons (Avoca), NSW Captain Rachelle King (Terrigal), Jemma Smith (Umina) and the return of Kelloggs Ironman veteran, Daniel Shade (Avoca), after a long hiatus.
For the Hunter, all eyes will be on Daniel Collins (Redhead) who was unstoppable at both Interstate and Interbranch as well as Hannah Trypas (Swansea Belmont) and NSW Champion Alex Marshall (Swansea Belmont).
In the state’s north, the Cudgen Headland trio of Luke Chaffer, Scott McCartney and Elena Leaver are all NSW medal winners while Byron Bay’s Ela Heiniger is certainly a favourite in the swim.
Sawtell’s Lauren Dam won 13 medals at the 2014 Country Champs and has to be in with a real chance of victory while it will be interesting to see Tacking Point’s Ryan Carroll racing up a division after collecting gold and two silvers in last week’s Age Championships.
South of Sydney, Helensburgh-Stanwell Park will be looking to continue their undisputed dynasty on the beach with Laura Shorter, Laura Humphries, Blake Drysdale, Keeleigh McCauley and Daniel McKellar just a few of their superstars who have won gold.
Kelloggs Ironwoman, Hannah Minogue (Bulli), will certainly start as one of the favourites while the Bulli Surf Boat Opens and Junior Men’s crews have been almost unstoppable this year.
Further to the south Warilla Barrack Point’s Ben Carberry continues to improve as an elite athlete and has every right to have a gold medal in his sights this year while Zoe Elkerton (Shellharbour) will be looking to grow her already significant NSW medal count.
The U23 Batemans Bay Male Surf Boat crew is another team in red hot form with a strong chance in medalling.
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