State Nippers flock to Ocean Grove

All smiles: Ocean Grove SLSC Under 11 competitors from Sharni, Pippi, Kate, Jemima, Abby and Helen. Pictures: MARK HEENAN MEDIA 163826

By Mark Heenan

Thousands flocked to Ocean Grove beach for the Life Saving Victoria state junior carnival on Sunday January 15 with some standout performances from local Nippers.
Overall up to 1400 junior competitors took part in the one-day carnival while LSV personnel officials, water safety officers and supportive families and locals were in attendance.
Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club Junior Activities Gavin Mahoney said challenging conditions meant some events were forced to move nearby Raffs’ beach to accommodate an incoming tide.
“Yes there were some challenging conditions, we were a bit worried about the tide coming in and the swell coming in with it,” Mahoney said.
“We had close to 1400 competitors (from all clubs) compete overall.”
Mahoney said up to 108 local Nippers performed well in the bigger surf at Ocean Grove.
“It gave our surf kids the opportunity to compete in the surf,” he said.
Highlights included the Ocean Grove SLSC winning quartet of Lexie McNaughton, Erica Crawford, Taia Young and Audrey Greer in the Under 14 Girls Surf Board Relay and Aqua Cameron Relay.
Lexie McNaughton won the individual Under 14 girls Surf Board race and Surf race.
Local Jemima Asher won the Under 13 Girls beach 1km run.
Marcus Bird claimed victory in the individual Under 13 Boys Surf race.
Bird teamed up with Xavier Eales and Charlie Mahoney to win the Under 14 Surf Board Relay.
Star Ocean Grove Nipper Tim Hannan won the Under 14 Boys Surf Board individual race.
Wider Bellarine and Surf Coast based surf lifesaving clubs Ocean Grove, Point Lonsdale, Torquay, Jan Juc and Anglesea competed, while regional based Apollo Bay and Warrnambool surf life saving clubs participated.
Melbourne-based clubs to take part included Williamstown, Altona, Black Rock, Chelsea, Bonbeach and Mornington.
The next state junior carnival takes place in the bay at Chelsea this Saturday 21 January.