Ironwomen in the making
THE closest beach is over two hours away for sisters and young surf life savers Grier and Calli McRae, yet they are developing into real stars of the sand and surf arena.
Hard work in training has paid off for Grier and her cousin Chloe Hooton after they won gold in the under-12s board rescue at the Wide Bay Capricorn Branch Championships at Bargara Beach.
Calli came home with four medals competing in the under-9s age group - silver in the Surf Teams, Beach Sprint Relay, and Board Relay events and bronze in the Wade Relay.
Competing under the Emu Park colours, the girls were up against teams from Yeppoon, Moore Park, Bundy, Moore Park, Elliot Heads, Hervey Bay, Agnes Waters and Tannum Sands - making it a high profile event to win - overall, Emu Park finished in fourth place.
The girl's mum and Chloe's aunt Michelle McRae said her stars were stoked with the results.
"It was an awesome weekend, terrible weather but the girls did so well," Michelle said.
"They were both extremely proud to get medals in such a tough competition.
"Grier was surprised, she had got places before but never won and she was able to topple girls she had never beaten before.
"She managed to hold on to a big wave where the other girls all fell off. She had a massive smile on her face."
While the Blackwater Barracuda have no sand or waves to practice with they make do with grass and the local pool.
"Pool fitness is the biggest part as it helps their overall fitness and they can do that here," Michelle said.
"But as there is no sand they can't really practice too much, the girls have been known to practice their flag drills in the backyard. They lie on the grass and get up and spin around and dive for the flag, luckily we have a decent lawn so it's okay.
"Most Saturday's we go to Emu Park for training and then Nippers on Sunday morning. So it is a lot of travelling but it's worth it."