Lake Macquarie will host the 2019 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships this month, and back up to stage next year’s state titles, too.
Swansea Belmont Surf Life Saving Club will host this year’s titles at Blacksmiths Beach from Saturday, February 23.
Surf Life Saving NSW and Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser announced on Wednesday that the titles would also return to Blacksmiths in 2020.
“It’s really exciting for us to announce that we will have the event back in 2020,” Cr Fraser said.
“Obviously, the competitors love this beach and the families love coming here. 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.
“Everyone here is a crucial part of the community. Belonging to the surf club ensures that our community is fit and healthy and can look after each other.”
Surf Life Saving NSW president David Murray said Blacksmiths Beach was the ideal venue.
“Swansea Belmont SLSC has been an incredible venue for our state championships for years now,” Mr Murray said.
In previous years:
“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 event brings together 129 clubs and more than 6,000 competitors from under-9s through to Masters, from February 23 to March 10.
“It’s amazing how many people come out of the woodwork from the club and community to help us run this great event,” Swansea Belmont’s Jeff 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.”
As one of the biggest events on the state’s surf sports calendar, the state championships provide a major economic boost to the local economy.
The championships feature all surf disciplines with more than 400 medals on offer in the water, beach, surf boats, lifesaving competition and, this year, the first inclusive mini-event for surf life saving members living with disability.
The inclusive event will include beach flags, beach sprint, sprint relay and swim races during the age championships weekend.
“For these members, it will be something unique and something they can take ownership of and they’ll really enjoy,” inclusive program manager Michael Wasley said.
“They’re looking forward to their families and friends being able to come along and cheer them on.”
Swansea Belmont SLSC ironman Nick Stoddart is looking to continue his success by claiming a handful of 2019 state titles at Blacksmiths.
“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,” Stoddart said.
This year, SLSNSW has also included a B-Division for 20- to 29-year-old competitors to increase participation outside the opens division. It’s the chance for clubs to introduce surf sports to members who may not have otherwise ever thought of competing.
The age championships weekend is traditionally the biggest of the event with over 3,000 nippers and their families expected to travel to Swansea Belmont.
The organisation’s youngest members between under-9s and under-14s are the state’s future lifesavers.
The NSW Championships is supported by Your Local Club, the naming rights partner for the seventh consecutive year.
The key dates for the 2019 championships at Blacksmiths Beach.-
- Lifesaving Championships (23-24 Feb);
- Age Championships (1-3 March);
- Masters Championships (6-7 March);
- Open Championships (8-10 March); and
- Inclusive Mini-Event (2 March, 9am).