Life savers go head to head with Navy

Team Navy heads out.

By David Toomba

The Noosa Heads SLSC sent a fleet of seven surf boat crews to contest the Team Navy ASRL Australian Open held at Elouera, NSW over the weekend, racing from Friday through to Sunday. The team had some extra motivation after hearing the sad news of Life Member Phil Cave passing away earlier in the week. The team wore black armbands as a sign of respect and mourning and rowed their hearts out over the weekend in the hope of making Phil proud. And that they did with the recently named Phil Cave boat making a finals appearance in 2 divisions.

Our two masters crews, the 200+ Emus (Mick Phelan, Blair Doran, Gerard Broerson, Daryl Lester, swept by Mick Gardner) and the 220+ Condors (Steve Hatton, Mick Curwen, Jon Gemmell, Chris Beaufort, swept by Dave Tomba) set the pace with both making the podium in 3rd place in their respective divisions.

The U19 male Peacocks showed inconsistent brilliance which wasn’t enough to proceed through the Sunday. The U19 female Spangled Drongos and U23 female Flamingos rowed well making into the top 10 of their respective division against the best crews in the country. Both crews showing positive progress, gaining momentum for a strong finish into to business end of the season.

The U19 female Scrub Turkeys (Natalie Dean, Maya Walsh, Abbey Whittaker, Grace Floyd, swept by Dave Tomba) showed strong performances to make the final. An error caused by inexperience 20 strokes into the final saw them drop to last place into the turning buoy but showed true grit and determination to row themselves back into 4th place. This crew has completed only their second carnival as a complete unit. Watch this space as the Scrub Turkeys continue to improve into reaching their full potential.

The Reserve women Chums (Rachel Reiser, Erin Smith, Phoebe Childs, Sophie Gruhl, swept by Dave Tomba) started off slow copping a battering by the surf in their first race. This only made the ladies more determined showing solid performances for the remainder of the weekend. “Copping a hiding from the surf in the first race was a blessing in disguise” tells sweep Dave Tomba,”it simply made the more determined and more hungry to get the results they needed”.

“Their final was flawless. The girls had an awesome start which pushed them half a boat length in front of the field. This allowed them to sneak over a wave, which gave the rest of the field a little touch up and they never looked back. A little bump popped up at the gate cans on the way home and the girls took it next level to stay with it until it formed into a wave.” Backing up from their win at Manly 4 weeks ago, this gives the Chums bragging rights of being ranked Number 1 in the country and current Team Navy ASRL Open champions.

Special mention must go to Steve Hatton, Mick Curwen and Steve Freckleton for driving the boats down to Sydney and back. Also a mention of thanks to Kate Tomba for co-ordinating the accommodation and super sub for most crews allowing them to stay on the water when a rower down. As well as Boat Captain, Anthony Fox, for dealing with all the time consuming admin duties and sweep demands.

We couldn’t do it without our major sponsors Devcorp Pty Ltd, Richardson & Wrench Coolum and Noosa Real Estate agencies and Solarhart. Thanks for assisting with the supply of our fleet of boats and equipment.

This weekend four U19 crews (2 female and 2 male) will travel another eight hours down to Pacific Palms, NSW to contest the Battle of the Boats crown. Best of luck to all crews and safe travels. 

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