The NSW Championships this year were hosted by the Central Coast Sea Lions. A rock hopping only event this year’s championship saw great conditions with near flat seas and slight winds complemented with viso ranging from 8-14m saw two great days of rock hopping for the 49 keen competitors. The scoresheet was held under Sydney Metro Zone scoresheet. Seven Dolphins made the trek up to the Central Coast and were well rewarded.
Day 1: Bateau Bay
So with zero knowledge of where to swim here, I went looking for a few of my old mates from the Sea Lions, big wave surfer and charter operator Ian Stewart didn’t let me down and gave some great advice to the Dolphins on the terrain we could encounter. Benny Bayfield rocks up now grinning from ear to ear, he has been scouting the coastline and has devised a plan, which involved a lot of running, with this event if you choose you can go on foot a distance before entering the water.
At the start many divers run down the steep hill and turn left and right, I waited up the top to see who went where and I decided then to get away from the masses and to stroll along the path and turned left awhile before entering the surf, a lucky choice of direction as I landed 14 species with 563 points (90%).
Ex Dolphins member and President of the USFA Peter Saunders had the overall lead with 11 fish including a cracking 4.4 kilo Giant Boarfish, probably the best fish I have seen weighed in a comp in a few years. It was good for me to see two V’s (Veterans) at the top of the leader board.
Ben Bayfield (79%), Dez (68%) and Evan (66%) were all still in the hunt for Day 2. I had a feeling the fitness of these guys would show on Day 2 with the location being announced at the weigh in – Norah Head, “The Bull” is offshore a little and it would be a drag race to see who could get their first.
Day 2: Norah Head
What a race! Evan had winged feet and took off like a shot dog, his Banks Board strapped over his shoulders. Spearos were saying in disbelief as they reached the top of the stairs at the Lighthouse “hey that guy is over-arming out to the Bull!” That’s how fast Evan was to the water before everyone else and he had the Bull to himself for a while.
When I finally arrived to the Bull, one hour later… there were great fish all over it, and many of the competitors elected to fish here. One interesting specie landed was Parry Gryllis 1100gm Spotted Sweetlip, a fish not common in Sydney. I saw all of our guys out at the Bull, Pat Mullins our champion Grand Master had some bad luck with a stuck spear and he spent 30 minutes dislodging it. Parry and Paul ‘Mudcrab’ Marsh had great scores and PB’s on the day, they fished very keenly. The Bondi Brats or Maroubra Marauders, or as Roso calls them the “that tinny trio!” each had a great strategy and I witnessed how hard they were fishing.
Derrick pulling out a great 710pts with second on the day and 95%, however it was Benny’s day and being consistent with 659pts and 88% had the edge on Dez from Day 1 to take out his first NSW Open Spearfishing Championships.
I took out the Veterans Championship by the skin of a bee’s’; Pat Mullins is the Grand Master Champion; we had four Dolphins in the top 10; Ben winning Seniors as well, with Dez 2nd and Evan 3rd. Paul ‘Mudcrab Marsh was 15th ans Parry 19th overall. If ‘the 3 Amigos’ had remembered to fill out their 3 man team sheet they would have smashed that trophy as well by several hundred points.
Thanks to the Sea Lions and Al Cooke their President in particular for hosting the event. Al was very appreciative of the Dolphins as we all assisted in scores on Day 1 with him and ran a set of scales on Day 2. Well done guys!
Next year the Championships will be held in the South Coast of NSW and is always well attended as the locations are very desirable spearfishing areas. I hope to see you all there.