Young Guns Claim Aussies Glory
Junior surfboat crews were the first to get on the podium after racing concluded on Friday with the finals of the Under 19 Male and Female and U23 Female divisions.
A relocation to Kirra due to conditions was taken in stride by the crews who were just happy to race. Michael King swept the U23 Newport Thunder crew across the line first in their hard fought battle for gold. Abby Ballesty, Meagan Barr, Tara Doyle and Claudia Harris were stoked with the win.
“It’s very exciting. We trained pretty hard,” said Tara Doyle.
“We thought it would be close when we turned the can and saw Nth Cronulla right there, but we got the better of the run and hit the beach first. We’ve had a really good season, we’ve been consistent throughout and we all get along really well.”
The U19 girls from South Curl Curl were over the moon at their close finish, with one of the rowers receiving the best birthday present ever.
Malawi Warneford celebrated her 17th birthday with a gold medal and the screams could be heard from the next beach.
“I woke up this morning, and I said as a joke, ‘wouldn’t it be good to get an Aussie gold today’!
“It just feels so good, I can’t believe it, I actually can’t believe it,” she said.
Sweep Gus Spiteri was bursting with pride at the girls’ amazing result.
“It’s an awesome effort from these guys. They haven’t been at the pointy end all season, but they’ve worked hard in the last six weeks and I tell you what, they’ve learnt so much. I’m very, very proud of them.”
The whole crew is just 17 years old and along with Marli, Nicola Berry, Laura Oliver and Vivienne Saunders handling the tough conditions well.
“In the final it was just tunnel vision,” said Gus. “I didn’t know where anyone else was and it was really tough through that gutter. They just did exactly what we said we were going to do, we got out the back and went hard then it was just hang on home. I’m so proud of them for it.”
In the U19 Male division the North Cronulla Young Guns were just as ecstatic at their win, especially as they crossed the line with a boat full of water, rowing the whole race without the pumps working.
The crew includes Logan Barling, Will Fleming, Benjamin Jessop and Hugo Langton.
“These boys have trained so hard. They got a second last year so this was their year,” said sweep Mick Hawkins.
“It’s awesome and they did it with a boat full of water and they never gave up. This is really, really special for our club. They get put on the wall and everything. It’s a tradition at North Cronulla and it’s really highly sought after. This is just the second crew in 20 years to get on the wall.”
Will said the challenging conditions were just perfect.
“It’s exactly what we wanted, it’s just like North Cronulla out the front. We wanted some wind, we knew a couple of the boys were better in the flat, we’re better in the chop so we couldn’t be happier to see conditions like this,” he said.
For full results… <click here>
Written by Surf Life Saving New South Wales