Clubs’ swell league debut
After months of tireless training, Binningup and Bunbury surf lifesaving club members made their debut in round one of the WA Surf League in Perth on December 9.
Only two years old, the competition this year introduced a youth category, opening up the opportunity for budding South West athletes to pit their skills against some of the best openage athletes in the State.
The event took place at North Cottesloe, which played host to swimming, board and ski races and beach sprints.
Binningup athletes held their own, with Julia Dwyer placing fifth in the open female beach flags, while fellow athlete Matt Cassidy placed seventh in the open male beach flags.
Binningup director of surf sports Ruth Nandapi said it was a great opportunity for the club to combine with the bigger Bunbury group.
“It gave some of our more competitive athletes a chance to compete against all the Perth clubs,” she said.
Mrs Nandapi said she was proud of her 13-year-old daughter Mia running against open men.
“They all certainly did our club proud, we’re a very small club but we’ve got some very talented athletes,” she said.
City of Bunbury Surf Life Saving Club surf sports director James Duncan said the athletes had been training relentlessly leading up to the event.
“They’ve been doing 10 to 12 sessions a week,” he said.
“Getting in the pool and then to the beach for board and ski work.”
New member Paige Stegmann competed in her first open board race on the day and placed ninth against other metro athletes.
But Kate Lockley stole the show, placing third in the youth ironwoman and seventh in the open female surf race.
The event gave athletes the chance not only to compete against metro teams, but catch the attention of scouts for the State team, which will be announced tomorrow.
“This new, short-format competition provided a fantastic opportunity for some of us smaller, regional clubs and our athletes to come together and create a combined presence to compete against some of the bigger metro teams,” Mr Duncan said.
“This is an event where everyone can just come look at your efforts for State trials.”
Trials were held earlier this month for the State team and Mr Duncan said the South West had “quite a contingent”.
Bunbury Surf Life Saving Club competitor Kate Lockley, 14, charges ahead of a Trigg athlete in the final leg of the ironwoman event.
Athletes take off in the board race.