With face masks on, our youth team headed to the Sunshine Coast to contest the 2021 Aussies and boy, did our kids give it a red-hot crack. We arrived a couple of days prior to the competition start to allow the crew to acclimatise to the conditions. Semaphore fielded two youth teams, comprising males and females from five SA surf clubs: Semaphore (Amy Buck, Lilija Zampatti, Erin Dixon, Tyler Richards, Luc Lindsay), Southport (Zalika Cederblad, Tillie Zeitz), Henley (Emerson Simone), Port Noarlunga (Zalii Reid) and Glenelg (Lachlan Larven).
Day 1, Friday, was individual events. Girls started with the Iron Person with Amy making it through to the quarter finals. Then to Boards, with Zalii catching a wave from out-the-back to take her into the Final. All our girls made it through the first round of the swim, with Zalii again making the Final.
The boys performed well in the Iron with Luc, Tyler and Lachie all making it through to the QF. Luc then progressed to the Final where he achieved an exceptional 10th place. Next up was the boards, with all boys making the QFs and just missing out on the finals. Hotly contested swim heats saw Luc and Tyler through to the Final with both boys in good position until the final wave zone!
Day 2 commenced with a couple of great efforts in the 2 x 1 km beach run at Mooloolaba: a spectacular silver medal to Tyler and Emerson, and 7th place to Lilija and Zalika. It was then back to Maroochydore for teams day. The girls fought hard through the board relay, Cameron, swim teams and board rescue. The swim team of Amy, Lilija, Zalii and Zalika finished the day on the big stage coming 8th overall in the Final! As a team, the boys also progressed through the board relay, Cameron and swim teams heats, but could not quite carry the momentum through to the finals.
Day 3 (yes, we too were getting tired by this stage) saw Lilija represent Semaphore and SA in the U15 girls Champion Lifesaver event, finishing in a commendable 4th place. Four of our girls and three of our boys also took part in the 2 km ocean swim, with Amy and Erin, finishing 21st and 30th, respectively, in the U15 and U14 age groups, and Luc and Tyler 5th and 24th, respectively, in the U15s and Lachie 17th in the U14s.
A big shout-out to our travelling party of officials, coaches, craft carriers, parents, and competitors – thanks to all. This was the first Aussies for all these kids, and they did themselves and their clubs proud – they all exhibited terrific sportsmanship. It was also wonderful to see kids, parents and supporters’ bond together across five SA clubs to give the kids an opportunity to compete. As parents, we were super proud to be part of it (CB, OR and BZ).