THE first State champions have been crowd at the NSW Surfmaster held at Boomerang Beach near Forster following some some exciting finals in dreamy three-to-four foot conditions.
Pacific Palms competitor Mel Bartz showed why she is a former Australian champion, smashing apart the punchy right handers on offer in the over 35 women's division.
In the course of her campaign, the gifted natural-footer posted a series of massive scores, including a near-perfect 9.67 early in the day and a 9.00 in the final.
Sandra English (Budgewoi) added another NSW title to her portfolio of results, taking out the over 50 women from Susan Levett (Manly). English was also awarded her Surfing NSW lifetime membership at the event, recognising her decades of service for surfing in the state and her roles in managing surf schools as well as coaching.
Perennial event standouts Rod Baldwin (Copacabana), Mark Gobbe (Mona Vale) and Neil Cameron (Byron Bay) all put on impressive displays in the picturesque conditions to claim the over 55, over 60 and over 65 men's divisions. All posted a handful of decent scores over the duration of the finals to take out the aforementioned divisions.
The prominent four-day event will see more than 150 competitors - aged 35 and older - battle it out in an attempt to secure an NSW shortboard title and a spot in the national titles at the 2020 Australian Surf Championships.
A number of former World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour surfers and Australian champions will compete in the event including Nathan Hedge (Narrabeen), Rod Baldwin (Copacabana) and Jake Spooner (Bulli). This is the ninth year the titles (presented by Moby's Beachside Retreat) has been held in the Great Lakes region.
Competition starts each day at 7.30am with the call for the day's schedule and location confirmed via the event hotline at 6.45am. The event hotline is 0458 247 212.
Day one results:
Over 35 women Melissa Bartz (Pacific Palms) 1, Nathalie Rennie (Terranora) 2, Talina Wilson (Coledale) 3, Belinda Koorey (Manly Vale) 4, Samantha Oakes (Carlton) 5.
Over 50 Women Sandra English (Budgewoi) 1, Susan Levett (Manly) 2.
Over 55 men Rod Baldwin (Copacabana) 1, Andrew Johnson (Dalmeny) 2, Michael Hoysted (Fern Bay) 3, Ged Cook (Warners Bay) 4.
Over 60 men Mark Gobbe (Mona Vale) 1, Lyle Elder (Moonee Beach) 2, Donovan Daniels (Bangalow) 3, Neil Cameron (Byron Bay) 4.
Over 65 men Neil Cameron (Byron Bay) 1, Graham Shearer (Byron Bay) 2, Wayne Roach (Merimbula) 3, George Watt (Bonny Hills) 4.