LITTLE RIPPER: Byron Bay Surf Club’s Zoe Hughes in action at the NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships. She won silver and bronze medals at the event.
LITTLE RIPPER: Byron Bay Surf Club’s Zoe Hughes in action at the NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships. She won silver and bronze medals at the event. Stephen Chu

‘Small country club’ holds its own at life saving contest

DESPITE fielding just nine competitors at the NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships at Umina, on the NSW Central Coast, Byron Bay Surf Club bought home five medals.

Zoe Hughes won silver in the Under-14 Female Board Race and bronze in the Under-14 Iron Woman event.

Leilani Carter took home silver in the Under-10 Female Board Race and Tex Hembrow won silver in the Under-11 Iron Man event.

Bradley Hunt was awarded silver for his effort in the Under-14 Male Beach Sprint and he narrowly missed a bronze in the Under-14 Male Beach Flags, in which he came fourth.

Tex's mother, Claire Hembrow, said Byron Bay Surf Club was stunned by the young competitors' strong showing, especially considering they were swamped with metropolitan competitors.

"For a small country club like us to field nine competitors and bring home five medals, that's just amazing," she said.

"And conditions were pretty difficult. Even if you had the lead the whole way, there was big waves coming in from the back right to the front, which made things difficult."

Hembrow said she was "so proud to see Tex get the silver. It gave me goosebumps".

"Our kids did so well. They put in a really strong effort and really held their own," she said.

Hembrow said some of the Sydney-based teams fielded dozens of competitors.

Additionally, Cudgen Headland SLSC's Hayley Smith won silver in the Under-13 Female Board Race, while Anthea Warne won bronze in the Under-14 Female Surf Race.

Manly LSC finished with the highest point score at the championships.


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