Get set: The start of the open men 4km event.
Get set: The start of the open men 4km event. Lynne Mowbray

Paddlers compete in honour of Jacob

THE cream of Australia's surf board paddlers came to Yamba's Main Beach on Saturday to compete for $10,000 in cash and prizes at the Jacob Lollback Memorial Board Race Day.

There were 250 starters, including 56 in the open men's 4km race and 55 in the under-15 men's 2km event, from Wollongong in the south and the Sunshine Coast in the north.

The field included many friends, teammates and rivals of the late Jacob Lollback who tragically died while on a diving expedition in Queensland just over 12 months ago.

Race organiser Jim Dougherty said competitors, organisers and the massive crowd were at Main Beach to remember an outstanding young surf lifesaver and competitor who won events at all levels from club to international standard with the Yamba and Burleigh Heads clubs.

“Jacob Lollback was the most successful competitor to come from the Yamba club and all the gun paddlers wanted to win his race," Dougherty said.

“There were 12 out of the top 15 paddlers from the Kellogs Nutri-Grain Ironman series racing in the open men 4km event.”

The blue ribbon event and a $1000 cheque went to ironman competitor and coach Wes Berg from North Burleigh with Mitch Miller from Noosa second and Hugh Dougherty, Tugun/Yamba, third.

The open women's 4km was won by 16-year-old Jordan Mercer from Noosa, who also won the under-17 2km race and the open and under-17 dash-for-cash events, with Gemma Newbiggen, Mooloolaba, second and Alyce Bennett from North Heads/Yamba third.

Mercer is the daughter of legendary ironman Darren Mercer who won the over-40 men's 2km race and the dash for cash.

Other top performers were Noosa's Mitch Miller who was second in the open men's 4km and won the under-17 2km in the best time of the day and Phil Clayton, Kurrawa, who took the 30-39 men's 2km and dash for cash double.

Heli Murray (Byron Bay) took the double in the over-40 women as did Mooloolaba's Teisha Jenkins in the under-15 women. Yamba competitors to place were Joe Dougherty, second in the 30-39 men's 2km race and Chris Outteridge, second in the over-40 women's 2km.

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