FORREST Beach Nippers went head-to-head with some of the best surf sports athletes in North Queensland at the 2021 North Australian Surf Life Saving Championships held in Mackay recently.
The North Australian Championships is the biggest regional lifesaving event on Queensland’s calendar and is a chance to showcase the talent from clubs in the northern and central part of the state from Port Douglas to Hervey Bay.
Over three big days, competitors varying in ages from 10 to 70 years competed in beach and ocean events, as well as the pool rescue competition.
The carnival is also the selection carnival for the Queensland Country Team.
Athletes from age groups under 13 to under 17 who place in the top four in water events and the top two in beach events gain selection in the team to compete at the Interbranch Championships.
Under 15 competitor Mariam Hall gained a spot on the team after a standout performance on the beach, placing first in the under 15 female beach flags and second in the under 15 female beach sprints.
She will travel to the Sunshine Coast at the end of the month to compete alongside athletes from the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Point Danger Branches at the Interbranch Championships.
Hall is one of ten athletes in the North Barrier region to have made the team with athletes from North Queensland and Wide Bay Capricorn Branches making up the remainder of the 48-strong contingent.
Hall said she was thrilled to make the team for the third year in a row.
‘I’m very excited to have made the team again. It is a special honour to represent my club and region at this event.’
The budding young athlete said: ‘I really enjoy the experience of going up against the best in the state. All events are straight out finals, so you have to get in there and go hard from the start.’
While Hall enjoys the competition she admits ‘it’s so much more than that’.
‘I’m looking forward to learning from others, catching up with friends from previous years and meeting new ones.’
Hall tallied two of the three medals for Forrest Beach over the championships with under 13 competitor Ellie Lahtinen taking home the bronze with an outstanding run in the under 13 female beach flags.
The beach relay teams also performed well, narrowly missing out on the medals, placing fourth in the under 13, under 14 and under 15 beach relays.
For the 12th year in a row, Cairns Surf Life Saving Club took out the overall position with another impressive win in the Junior, Senior and Masters divisions as well as the Pool Competition.
The North Barrier Branch’s very own Arcadian Surf Life Saving Club placed in second position overall.
The club is now preparing for the North Barrier Branch Championships to be held at Sarina in December, which will wrap up competition for the year.
Top 6 placings North Australian Championships:
Under 11 female beach sprints – 4th Billie Lahtinen.
Under 13 female beach flags – 3rd Ellie Lahtinen.
Under 14 male beach sprints – 4th Benon Hall.
under 14 male beach flags – 5th Benon Hall.
Under 15 female beach flags – 1st Mariam Hall.
Under 15 female beach sprints – 2nd Mariam Hall.
Under 13 beach relay – 4th Gypsy Marshall, Ruby MacPherson, Ellie Lahtinen and Alice Austin.
Under 14 beach relay – 4th Ellie Lahtinen, Alice Austin, Louise Kaurila and Benon Hall.
Under 15 beach relay – 4th Louise Kaurila, Benon Hall, Mariam Hall and John Austin.