Swansea Belmont Surf Life Saving Club has secured the hosting rights to one of the state’s largest and most competitive championship events for the next two years.
The 2019 and 2020 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships will be hosted by the club at Blacksmiths Beach.
“Swansea Belmont SLSC has been an incredible venue for our state championships for years now,” Surf Life Saving NSW president David Murray said.
“It provides a great level playing field for all our competitors no matter their age or ability.
“The club runs a seamless event and we couldn’t be happier to secure our partnership for 2020 with them.”
The Surf Life Saving Championships bring together 129 clubs and more than 6000 competitors from under 9s through to masters. It also attracts some 600 volunteer officials.
It is an event eagerly circled on the surf lifesaving calendar each year, with many of surf’s most successful athletes, including several Olympians, starting their competitive journeys at the championships.
2019 will be the third consecutive year that Swansea Belmont SLSC hosts the championships, which feature all beach sport disciplines.
There are more than 400 medals on offer in the water, beach, surf boats and lifesaving competition.
In 2019, the championships will for the first time include a mini-event for surf lifesaving members living with disability.
The inclusive event will include beach flags, beach sprint, sprint relay and swim races during the age championships weekend (March 1-3).
The age championships weekend is traditionally the biggest of the event with more than 3000 nippers (under 9 to 14s) and their families in attendance.
Masters will compete March 6-7 and the open championship, for ages 15 and above, will be held March 8-10.
This year SLSNSW has also included a B division for 20-29 year old competitors to increase participation outside the opens division.
It is a chance for clubs to introduce surf sports to members who may not have otherwise ever thought of competing.
Swansea Belmont SLSC’s manager of surf sports, Jeff Mowbray, said the club received “amazing” support in hosting the championships.
“It’s amazing how many people come out of the woodwork from the club and community to help us run this great event,” Mowbray said.
“It takes a big workforce to run it successfully and really brings everyone together, because that’s what our club is all about, teamwork.”
Swansea Belmont SLSC ironman Nick Stoddart said he was looking to continue his success by claiming a handful of 2019 state titles at Blacksmiths Beach.
“It’s good here because the conditions are usually easy so it’s really fair racing,” he said.
“I’ve had some good results at state champs in board, ironman and relays. It’s a great event to benchmark where you’re at before the Australian championships and it’s always great to compete at home in front of your friends and family at your home beach.”
Lake Macquarie City Council Mayor Kay Fraser said it was “really exciting” that the event would return in 2019 and 2020.
“It’s really great for us as a city and surfing destination to host the event economically and to put the Lake Macquarie region on the map,” she said.