Fingal Beach lifesavers have surfed their way to the winners circle of the NSW Board Riding Championships.
Andrew Parker and Clint Brown claimed gold in their events at the championships, which was staged at One Mile Beach between September 8 and 10.
Open to competitors aged 12 to 70, the NSW Board Riding Championships was an opportunity for the best surfers within Surf Life Saving to temporarily throw off their patrol uniforms and show off their skills on the board.
And they did not disappoint.
Across the competition there were a number of outstanding performances in both the short and long board events.
In the juniors Molly Sheppard (MacMasters Beach) and Joel Barry (Shelly Beach) were crowned the male and female champions of the under-13s.
Samantha Babister (Wanda) and Kyle O’Sullivan took out the under-14s while Darci Air (Thirroul) and Finn Askew (Tacking Point) did enough to impress the judges in the under-15s.
There was joy for the Far North Coast in the under-17s with Cudgen Headland’s Sofie Boyd taking out the female title, while her club mate Kai Onley having his own success in the male event picking up silver behind Tyler Nott (Wanda).
It was a family affair in the under-19s as Coogee brothers Joe and Jack Beale earned a place on the podium with a gold and bronze respectively, alongside Kieran Braddish (Umina).
The opens was a closely fought competition with several of the youngsters stepping up to make their presence felt alongside their experienced counterparts.
Sophie Wade (Palm Beach) had a competition to remember taking home four gold medals with victory in both the open long and short board events to go with victory in the 30-39 and open female events.
Boyd continued her strong competition picking up silver in the open short board.
In the male open long board, Anthony Carroll (Bondi Surf Bathers) claimed gold which sat very comfortably next to his wins in the 40-49 age group.
Trent Roberts (Stockton) did enough to hold off Onley from Cudgen Headland in the short board event.
The masters competitors showed their class with a number of strong performances from a number of athletes including Parker and Brown from Fingal Beach Surf Life Saving Club.
Parker claimed gold in the 30-39 male long board and Brown took out the 30-39 male short board event.
Surf Life Saving NSW surf sports manager Rob Pidgeon believed that despite its challenges, especially weather moving the event from Birubi to One Mile Beach, the 2017 NSW Board Riding Championships could be hailed a success.
“It was a highly entertaining and enjoyable three day competition that was fought in good spirits,” he said.
“While ideally we would have loved to be able to stage it at Birubi Point everyone was accepting of the challenging conditions and the rationale behind moving the competition.
“The club, officials, and competitors all came together to ensure that the logistics of moving was handled as smoothly and efficiently as possible.”
Pidgeon thanked Port Stephens Council, which provided support for the event, and Birubi SLSC.
Despite the frustrations of not being able to host it on their own break, the Birubi lifesavers were “incredibly generous with their hospitality”, Pidgeon said.