Byron chases its sixth gold at Surf Lifesaving champs

BYRON BAY will be out to win the NSW Country Surf Lifesaving Championships for the sixth straight year at South West Rocks this weekend.

About 93 competitors will be part of the team with Zoe Hughes, Scout Hembrow, Tex Hembrow and Jy Timperley expected to perform well.

Hughes bagged more than 10 medals at the carnival last year while Timperley is a current member of the NSW Youth team.

Anthea and Joseph Warne will also represent the Far North Coast branch with 400 surf lifesavers from the region expected to turn out.

Cudgen will send the most from FNC with 120 while a total of 1300 competitors will take part in the two-day carnival.

The main competition from outside the FNC branch should come from Warilla Barrack Point, which finished second last year.

The carnival excludes metropolitan clubs and is one of the final competitions before upcoming NSW and Australians championships.

The country championships are the only carnival on the surf lifesaving calendar to feature a full range of events including surf boats as well as age divisions from Under-8s through to Masters.

NSW Surf Sports manager Rob Pidgeon is anticipating a tightly fought competition.

"All the regions are sending strong teams with most clubs represented which is very pleasing to see," Pidgeon said. "The country championships are a wonderful opportunity for our lifesavers to not only compete, but also to forge friendships with those from outside their area which only strengthens the movement.

"Reports from local branch and club carnivals have been impressive, and we're looking forward to seeing all our lifesavers putting their form into practise."

Another young nipper on the rise is Yamba's Kalani Ives who will be out to build on her encouraging performance from last season.

She showed an ability to read the conditions beyond her years, riding home a wave to take home the gold in the under-10 board race.

The championships will also be a significant boost for the Macleay Valley's economy with an estimated $6 million dollars expected to be injected over the course of the two-year hosting deal.

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